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Zimbabwe and Singapore sign off Netball World Cup in triumphant style

Zimbabwe defeated Barbados to secure 13th place while Singapore got the better of Sri Lanka to secure 15th place in their final matches of the Netball World Cup 2023 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday.

ZIMBABWE 75 – 48 BARBADOS

Zimbabwe avenged their 45-62 loss against Barbados earlier in the week when they beat the Bajan Gems 75-48 to finish in 13th position at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.  

Four years ago at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool, Zimbabwe claimed eighth place and Barbados 12th.  

Right from the beginning, Zimbabwe took control, leading by three points early on. Goal attack Nicole Muzanenamo was in excellent form, receiving accurate passes from the mid-court and converting her shots effectively. She utilised impressive split landings once again to position herself well for scoring. 

Barbados managed to narrow the gap to just one goal (14-15) before the end of the first quarter, with a goal from Kadeen Corbin. The second quarter saw back-and-forth action. There were multiple intercepts and closely contested play around the goal circles. Zimbabwe’s Nalani Makunde scored four consecutive goals just before halftime, giving her team a 30-28 lead. 

The Gems maintained their momentum, and in the third quarter, they surged ahead with a substantial lead, outscoring Barbados by 22 to seven. This quarter proved to be challenging for Barbados, while Zimbabwe excelled. The scoreboard showed 52-35 in favour of Zimbabwe at the start of the final quarter. 

It was more of the same in the fourth quarter with Zimbabwe completely outplaying Barbados. The African team were lighter on their feet while the islanders found it difficult to keep up with the fast pace.  

Throughout the match, Zimbabwe’s fitness played a crucial role, as they made only two changes during the entire 60 minutes. In the last 15 minutes, Zimbabwe’s defenders limited Barbados’ scoring opportunities, resulting in a significant lead of up to 24 points at one stage. When the match concluded, Zimbabwe emerged victorious with a 27-goal lead. 

Zimbabwe captain Felisitus Kwangwa said her side raised their hands a little too late in Cape Town. 

“For the last few games we just told ourselves that we have to work hard and finish strong. I’m glad everyone in the team managed to rise to the occasion.” 

It was wing attack Sasha Corbin’s last match for Barbados, having previously represented England, and she said it has been a massive honour. 

“It’s been tough, I won’t lie, six games back-to-back with no rest, it has been extremely difficult. But at the same time, we’ve had to dig deep and I’m proud of what we have achieved,” she said.  

SCORES

Q1: 15-14 

Q2: 30-28 (15-14) 

Q3: 52-35 (22-7) 

Q4: 75-48 (23-13)  

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Nalani Makunde (Zimbabwe) 

SINGAPORE 49 – 46 SRI LANKA

Singapore and Sri Lanka renewed their rivalry in the battle for 15th place at the Netball World Cup in Cape Town on Friday. The sides have already met at this tournament, with Singapore winning by three goals on that occasion while it was Sri Lanka who prevailed in their previous 15th-place showdown at a Netball World Cup in 2019.

As expected Friday’s encounter was a neck-and-neck encounter but it was the Singaporeans who had the edge, grinding out a 49-46 victory.

It was a much better start from Sri Lanka compared to the last clash between the two sides in Cape Town where they found themselves nine goals down after the first quarter and playing catch-up throughout.

Singapore were punished for offensive contact on three occasions in the first quarter which proved costly while Sri Lanka took advantage of their greater possession (60 per cent), easily finding Thishala Algama in the circle.

Once again, shooting accuracy was a talking point in the match – the Sri Lankans firing in 15 of their 16 attempts while Singapore’s numbers stood on eight from 11. That saw the Sri Lankans reaching the first break 8-15 up.

Sri Lanka found it much tougher to find their shooters in the second quarter as Singapore’s defensive unit upped their intensity. That allowed them to win the quarter by one goal but they still faced a deficit of six with the Sri Lankans heading into halftime 20-26 in front.

The third quarter belonged to Singapore, their fluency and intensity seeing them quickly closing the gap. They were dealt a blow when, with five minutes left in the quarter, wing defence Shu Ning Yew went down with a knee injury and was wheeled off court by medics. She was replaced by Ting Fang Khor but Singapore continued to dominate, winning the period 16-10 and finding the all-important equaliser with 15 seconds remaining in the period.

That meant there was all to play for in the final 15 minutes. Having upped her percentage considerably from the opening period, Amandeep Chahal was rock solid in the Singapore circle, sinking nine of her 10 attempts as Singapore moved in front and held on for a memorable 49-46 victory over the Asian champions. The goal shooter was later named Most Valuable Player.

Speaking after the match an elated Singapore captain Kai Wei Toh said: “It feels great. We’ve been wanting to do this – to win and to up our ranking. I think the team did really well today – a deserved win. We had a slow start but the team fought through.

“In the first game I think we had a dip in the second quarter so coming into this game we wanted to fix that. We didn’t want to have any dips and stay competitive throughout the quarters and I think the team did achieve that today.

“We have been meeting Sri Lanka for many years and losing to them in our own Asian championships also so with this win, we receive a lot of encouragement for Singapore. I think a lot of the younger girls will have a bit more hope that Singapore netball is going on a bigger stage and that they can progress even further.”

SCORES

Q1: 8-15

Q2: 20-26 (12-11)

Q3: 36-36 (16-10)

Q4: 49-46 (13-10)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Amandeep Chahal (Singapore)