By Mphatso Malidadi:
Malawi national netball team set up a quarter-final clash with world number one side Australia with a 65-41 beating of Barbados at the ongoing 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup at M & S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England.
The Queens progressed as Group B runners-up behind leaders New Zealand.
This was Malawi’s second win after defeating Singapore 87-38 on Saturday.
The two successive wins came after the Queens’ 64-45 opening loss to fourth-ranked New Zealand on Friday.
Australia have a perfect record at the games, after beating Northern Ireland 88-24 on Friday, Zimbabwe 73-37 on Saturday and Sri Lanka 75-22 Sunday.
Malawi Coach, Griffin Saenda Senior, admitted that his charges were up against the favourites.
“When you are facing the giants, you need to throw everything into the game while hoping to cause an upset. We will definitely prepare well so that we get something from this match,” Saenda said.
The veteran mentor said he was excited with his players’ response following the poor start on Friday.
In yesterday’s game, battle lines were drawn between the two teams, which found themselves in similar circumstances of losing to New Zealand and beating Singapore.
According to www.nwc2019. co.uk, Malawi got off to a shaky start from a delayed centre pass, with Joyce Mvula failing to convert from their first shooting opportunity.
Barbados reacted quickly and, within seconds, Shonica Wharton scored the first goal of the match.
But Malawi soon regained possession and directed the ball back to their own shooting circle, where Mvula got the Queens off the mark.
The first five minutes continued in an even pattern, before Malawi stepped up their centre court intensity and began to dominate.
Takondwa Lwazi controlled Malawi’s shooting circle, receiving and feeding balls to Mvula and Jane Chimaliro.
Malawi led the first quarter 27-11 before maintaining their comfortable lead to 45-20 at half time. At the end of the third quarter, the Queens still led 63-30.
The Queens continued to dominate in the fourth quarter to wrap up the match 65-41.
Mvula, who plays for English Vitality Superleague side Manchester Thunder, was named Player-of-the-Match for the second consecutive game.
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