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Top four through to semifinals of Netball World Cup

THERE are no surprises among the teams who will contest the semifinals at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town with the top four on the latest world rankings all advancing in the competition.

England (3) will take on defending champions New Zealand (2) and Australia (1) will face Jamaica (4) today. They are the only countries to have played at every World Cup since 1963.

In today’s action, host nation South Africa and Tonga take to the court to determine who will advance to tomorrow’s playoff for fifth and sixth position. 

The winner of this match will come up against the winner of the match between Malawi and Uganda. It therefore could see the Proteas in their second tussle with the She Cranes in the space of three days after yesterday’s narrow 52-50 victory.

While Australia (11) and New Zealand (5) are the only two countries to have won the World Cup, a couple of close matches this week in Cape Town could see them out of contention for the first time since 1963.

World No 1 Australia were shocked by England when the Roses came back from an eight-goal deficit to beat them by one point and finish top of pool F. 

The Diamonds are now up against Jamaica in today’s second semifinal in what will most certainly be a tough encounter.

Even though Australia beat the Sunshine Girls in the final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (55-51), Jamaica is the in-form team of the tournament in Cape Town, being the only unbeaten team.

They scored an 11-point victory over New Zealand (69-58) and beat South Africa by 18 points (67-49). Shooters Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken-George have had little trouble under the pole. 

Australia will rely heavily on star defenders Courtney Bruce, Sarah Klau and Jo Weston to keep the ball out of the Jamaica goal circle.

Jamaica’s victory over New Zealand earlier in the week relegated the Silver Ferns to second position in pool G and set up the semifinal encounter with England. 

It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the defending champs in Cape Town with shooter Grace Nweke ruled out through injury. Uganda also pushed them all the way, only losing by 10 points earlier in the week.

England will be strengthened by their performance against Australia, but New Zealand will step onto court knowing that they have beaten their opponents in their previous two encounters. – AFP.


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