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England in final on the basis of Watt and Ecclestone

Christchurch, March 31 (agency)

Opener Daniel Watt’s memorable century was followed by scintillating bowling from spinner Sophie Ecclestone as defending champions England entered the final of the Women’s One Day World Cup after registering a massive 137-run win over South Africa here on Thursday. Watt (129 runs in 125 balls, 12 fours) took full advantage of the opportunities she got during her innings, getting her five lives to score her maiden century in the World Cup. Apart from them, Sophia Dunkley played a half-century of 60 runs in 72 balls as England posted a mammoth score of 293 for eight after being invited to bat.

The South African team came under pressure in this knockout match and were reduced to 156 runs in 38 overs chasing the target. South Africa, who reached the last four as the second best team from the league stage, had also knocked India out of the competition, but they succumbed to pressure in this match. The team lost the wicket of Laura Wolwart, the highest run-getter of the tournament, in the very second over. The team could not recover from this setback. Left-arm spinner Ecclestone wrapped up the lower order to complete the task for England. He took six wickets for 36 runs in eight overs. Apart from this, he played an innings of 24 not out in 11 balls to take England close to 300 runs.

England registered five consecutive victories while they were in danger of being knocked out of the tournament after the first three losses. Now the team will look to clinch a fifth title for which it will face Australia, a familiar rival for it, in the final. The Australian team will also try to clinch a record seventh title.

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