Watkins propels Kiwis into final

ICC World Twenty20 2009

Aimee Watkins

India had no answer to White Ferns skipper Aimee Watkins' imposing innings of 89 not out at Trent Bridge

New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins hit the highest score of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 so far to lead her team into the final with a 52-run win over India at Trent Bridge today.

The White Ferns number three hit an unbeaten 89 to form the cornerstone of her side’s 145 for five, while India could muster only 93 for nine in response.

The Kiwis will therefore face England or Australia in the final at Lord’s on Sunday.

After Watkins had chosen to bat first on a largely cloudy afternoon, opener Lucy Doolan went early, caught on the leg side.

But left-hander Watkins and Suzie Bates shared the highest stand of this first semi-final - 40 in five overs - before the latter was very well caught low down at mid-off by a tumbling Harmanpreet Kaur off Amita Sharma.

Watkins had already shown her liking for big shots though the off side, and there was plenty of support down the order as she grew in confidence.

A slog-sweep off slow left-armer Gouhar Sultana brought her the first of two sixes, to join England’s Claire Taylor on 75 as the competition’s joint top-scorer.

After another six from the last ball of the innings, over her favoured extra-cover off Rumeli Dhar, she had also hit 10 fours from 58 balls.

Watkins had made the third highest individual score in the history of women’s Twenty20 too and had gone past her team-mate Bates as this tournament’s leading run-scorer.

India’s reply was never remotely up with the required rate, and after Anjum Chopra and Kaur fell to successive deliveries, even the prolific Mithali Raj and Amita Sharma could not drag their team back into contention.

Watkins praised the New Zealand attack, but claimed the batsmen have room for improvement ahead of the final.

She said: “If you bowl the right length on that pitch, it’s hard to score. But perhaps the batters could have used their feet more and been inventive.”

Her opposite number, Jhulan Goswami, said: “Aimee Watkins played superbly and 145 was a good performance.

“We tried to restrict them to less than 130 but the openers didn’t give us a good start.”

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