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Malawi Queens fight on

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By Mphatso Malidadi:

Malawi national netball team recovered from the defeat to world number one Australia by beating Zimbabwe 59- 43 at the on-going Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, Thursday.

The result means Malawi have finished third in Group F and will now play against the fourth-placed team in Group G this afternoon.

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Should Malawi win, they would qualify for Sunday’s fifth and sixth place play-off against the winner between Zimbabwe and Group G’s third-placed team.

If the Queens lose, they would compete in the seventh and eighth place play-off.

Malawi are likely to meet either Uganda or Jamaica, who were meeting as we went to press Thursday.

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Results of the global contest do not automatically change teams’ rankings as International Netball Federation would make an assessment after the competition.

Smarting from an embarrassing 74-35 defeat to Australia, the Queens featured their strongest line-up against their fellow Africans.

The match was the first-ever World Cup meeting between the two sides.

Malawi recalled Manchester Thunder shooter Joyce Mvula to partner goal attacker Jane Chimaliro whereas Bridget Kumwenda-Chalera was named wing attacker in place of Thandie Galeta.

Centre Takondwa Lwazi- Mtonga was also in the line-up whereas goalkeeper Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, goal defender Caroline Mtukule- Ngwira and wing defender Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango featured at the back.

Despite a shaky start, the Queens fought hard and triumphed 11-8 in the first quarter.

Malawi stepped up their game in the second quarter and comfortably led 28-17 at half time.

The Queens coaching panel maintained the line-up in the third quarter, which ended 43-19 in their favour.

In the fourth quarter, Zimbabwe’s top shooter Joyce Takaidza suffered an injury following a collision but, by then, damage had been done.

As the game headed towards the end, Malawi rested impressive Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda for Lauren Ngwira and Lwazi-Mtonga for Thandie Galeta.

Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda was deservedly named Player-of-the- Match and said it was a must-win encounter.

“We are happy because we really wanted to beat Zimbabwe. They are a tough team and have been doing well in several games. So we really needed to win this game.

“I am pleased with my performance and this has motivated me ahead of the remaining games. I knew that if I intercepted more balls, it would give us an advantage,” she said.

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