Australia Clinches Victory Over Malawi at Netball World

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By Muhammad Dhakaba Menya

In a nail-biting clash that kept spectators on the edge of their seats until the second half, Australia secured their second successive victory in Group F at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town, prevailing over Malawi with a final score of 70-46.

Malawi’s defenders, Loreen Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbu, initially struggled to contain the Australian shooters, but they soon found their rhythm and effectively redirected possession toward their own goal circle. Vinkhumbu, who also excels in football at the national level in Malawi, showcased her outstanding skills both inside and outside the circle.

However, the momentum shifted when, five minutes into the second quarter, Ngwira had to leave the court due to what appeared to be an ankle injury. Jane Dambo replaced her, and Malawi continued to put up a strong fight.

The first half concluded with an evenly matched score of 28-all, with Malawi outscoring Australia 15-12 in the second quarter. It was the Diamonds’ first-quarter loss in Cape Town, highlighting the fierce competition between the teams.

In the third quarter, the Australian team made some changes to their lineup, bringing in Sophie Garbin as goal shooter and Jo Weston as goal defense. With these adjustments, the 11-time world champions began to build a considerable lead. Their faster gameplay forced Malawi into committing avoidable errors like stepping and handling, allowing Australia to take advantage of the situation. The appearance of Jamie-Lee Price as center injected even more urgency and dynamism into the Australian team\’s performance.

In the last 15 minutes of the match, the Diamonds maintained control, securing over 60 percent of the possession and converting nearly 92 percent of their shots at goal. They managed to overcome a shaky start and avoid what could have been the greatest upset in World Cup history. Steph Wood, the Australian goal attack, demonstrated her incredible accuracy, missing only one of her 19 shots at goal. Her exceptional overall play earned her the Most Valuable Player award.

Australian coach Stacey Marinkovich acknowledged that her side anticipated a tough battle against Malawi, praising the opposition’s athleticism and persistence in their movement. “They just play a little bit differently so the line of the ball and the place in which they play is a little bit unorthodox. You’ve just got to get your head around it and both teams were scoring quite well so it was just a tussle,” she said.

Marinkovich also expressed her satisfaction with the performance of the substitute players, who made a significant impact when they came on. “The plan was to make sure we still put our combinations out there but I was really pleased with the players that came on. I thought they impacted early, they got a hand to the ball, and they showed a presence, so it just reiterates that they’re sitting on the sideline taking in the game and they know what they’ve got to do when they step out.”

Malawi captain Jane Chimaliro acknowledged her team’s strong start and their ability to control Australia during the first and second quarters. However, she attributed their eventual loss to some unnecessary turnovers in the third quarter, which ultimately impacted the outcome of the game.

According to Chimaliro, there was some added motivation for the match against Australia. “This morning we received a call from His Excellency the president of Malawi. We know that everyone in Malawi is behind us so that’s why we played like that and I know that they are happy. They watched a good performance, a good game today. They are happy with us even though we lost the game, they are still behind us.”


Q1: 16-13

Q2: 28-28 (12-15)

Q3: 49-37 (21-9)

Q4: 70-46 (21-9)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Steph Wood (Australia)

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