SA and Pakistan qualify for next year's women's World Cup

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Stellenbosch, South Africa, Feb 23 (UNI) South Africa and Pakistan recorded convincing victories in their respective semi-final matches here to qualify for the ICC Women's World Cup to be played in Australia next year.

Hosts South Africa defeated Ireland by seven wickets while Pakistan defeated the Netherlands by 94 runs.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Ireland got into all kinds of problems against South Africa, with only opener Cecilia Joyce, who made 43, to put up any kind of resistance in a total of 107. For South Africa, Sunette Loubser (2-12) and Alicia Smith (2-27) shared wickets.

South Africa reached the target with 22.2 overs to spare. Olivia Anderson, player of the match, scored an unbeaten 46 for the host.

In the other semi-finals, the Netherlands did well to restrict Pakistan to 162, with Lotte Egging winning the Player of the Match Award for her hat-trick.

In reply, the Netherlands never recovered after losing openers Violet Wattenberg and Helmien Rambaldo for ducks, and was bowled out for 68 that included a gutsy 41 by Annemarie Tanke.

Sajida Shah did the damage with the ball taking 3-14 while Sana Mir also contributed with two wickets.

A relieved Pakistan captain Urooj Mumtaz said, ''It's an absolutely awesome feeling. I can't tell you how amazing it feels.

That was the task we came here to do and I think we pulled off a great win. We are very excited to be going to the World Cup.'' The two teams joined defending champions Australia, India, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies who all earned automatic qualification for the 2009 event following their top-six finish in the last World cup held in Pretoria, South Africa.

Pakistan now face South Africa in the finals here tomorrow.

Scores in brief South Africa beat Ireland by seven wickets Ireland 107 (47.4 overs, C Joyce 43 not out, Loubser 2-12, Smith 2-29) South Africa 108-3 (27.4 overs, Anderson 46 not out, Isobel Joyce 2-21) Pakistan beat Netherlands by 94 runs Pakistan 162 (45.5 overs, Bismal Maroof 45, Taskeen Qadeer 27, Egging 3-23) Netherlands 68 (31.2 overs, Annemarie Tanke 41, Sajida Shah 3-14) UNI XC RKM RAR HS1454

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