Sylhet: India today defeated traditional rivals Pakistan by six runs in a low-scoring but close qualification play-off match of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 here to secure a direct ticket in the 2016 edition of the tournament.
By virtue of this win, India finished joint fifth along with New Zealand in the tournament. Earlier in the day, the Kiwis eased to six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in another qualification play-off here. As per rules, the teams that finish in the top six at the ongoing World Twenty20 automatically qualify for the next edition of the tournament.
The four semi-finalists -- Australia, South Africa, England and West Indies -- are already through, while New Zealand and India take the remaining two spots. The teams that don't secure qualification here have to compete in a separate qualifying tournament, to make it to the 2016 showpiece event.
In the match against Pakistan, India failed to put up a challenging total on the board after electing to bat as they managed just 106 runs for the loss of seven wickets. Skipper Mithali Raj top-scored for the Indians with a 43-ball 39, while openers Smriti Mandhana (22) and Poonam Raut (17) were the two other batters to have managed double digit scores.
Medium pacer Sania Khan (3/15) was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan, while Asmavia Iqbal (2/16) scalped two wickets. Defending the target, the Indian bowlers were right on the money from the word go and picked up wickets at regular intervals as Pakistan lost half of their side inside the 50-run mark.
Pakistan only had themselves to blame as they made a heavy weather of the chase to eventually finish at 100 for nine. For India, right-arm medium-pacer Soniya Dabir (3/14) picked up three wickets, while Sravanthi Naidu (2/12) and Poonam Yadav (2/25) shared four wickets between them.