Malawi Queens’ quest to regain top five-finish at the 2015 Netball World Cup ended demoralisingly when they suffered a heartbreaking loss to South Africa’s Spar Proteas 46-48 at Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday.
But the consolation is that shooter Mwawi Kumwenda has scooped the player-of-the-tournament award following her impressive contribution at the tournament.
The loss was a timely response from South Africa who lost to the Queens 58- 51 in Pool C opening match.
Spar Proteas hit and tore apart Queens where it pains most as the result broke Malawi’s hearts after they were tipped to regain position five in the play-offs match.
Queens coach Peace Chawinga- Kaluwa would be wondering where she got it wrong after her charges showcased flashes of brilliance in defeats to Jamaica 63-62 and New Zealand’s Silver Ferns, 57-49.
The result was not expected, especially in the presence of in-form New Zealand based shooter Kumwenda who was later named player of the tournament on the final day of the World Cup.
Malawi’s sole professional grabbe d headlines after Queens humbled South Africa in the opening match as she was described as the missing link.
Kumwenda scored 36 baskets from 41 attempts while goal attacker Sindie Simtowe scored 10 baskets in 11 attempts.
South Africa shooter Lenize Potgieter scored 32 baskets from 34 shots while goal attacker Maryka Holtzhausen scored 16 baskets from 22 attempts.
It was suicidal for Queens to feature the same line-up throughout the competition and signs of fatigue were visible even though Malawi led the first quarter 12-11.
South Africa won the second quarter 12-9 to lead at half time by 23-21.
Queens fought back in the second quarter to score 15 baskets against 12 and retake the lead 36-35. South Africa then delivered the killer punch in the final quarter to win it 13-10 and seal the fifth-position with 48-46 victory.
Meanwhile, hosts and number one ranked, Australia defended the World Cup after beating number two ranked and favourites New Zealand 58-55.
Just like the Queens and South Africa affair, Australia lost to Silver Ferns in the group stages but responded swiftly to hit and demean their rivals and walked-away with the glittering trophy.
In a third-place match, England won bronze after beating Jamaica 66-44.
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