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February 28, 2020

India reach Women’s T20 World Cup semis

A
Agencies
February 28, 2020

MELBOURNE: A quickfire 46 from teenage prodigy Shafali Verma helped India earn a nail-biting four-run win over New Zealand as they reached the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals on Thursday.

New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine won the toss at Melbourne’s Junction Oval and opted to bowl with her team restricting India to 133 for eight after Verma gave them a strong start, with three sixes and four fours off her 34 balls.

But the New Zealand batswomen narrowly missed their target despite a swashbuckling late charge by Amelia Kerr leaving them at 129 for six.

After opening their campaign by upsetting four-time champions Australia, India beat Bangladesh and their New Zealand victory made it three from three to ensure a semi-final berth for the second successive tournament.

They still have to face Sri Lanka in Group B with the top two from each of the two five-team groups qualifying for the knockout phase.

Two-time finalists New Zealand are now 1-1 from their two games.

India started solidly, working 15 runs from the opening two overs before Smriti Mandhana dragged a Lea Tahuhu delivery onto her stumps. Undeterred, the dynamic Verma clicked into gear and clubbed two big sixes in a row to get the scoreboard moving.

Rosemary Mair snapped a dangerous 51-run partnership with Tanya Bhatia (23) and Jemimah Rodrigues fell for 10.

Verma rode her luck at the other end, surviving dropped chances on 26 and 32, but she looked destined for a half-century before holing out to Hayley Jenson near the boundary rope.

Kaur and Deepti Sharma were out cheaply and it was left to the tail-enders to ensure India posted a challenging target.

Rachel Priest smacked two boundaries off the opening over in the run chase but she was gone by the second. Suzie Bates, the highest run-scorer in T20 World Cup history, soon followed, attempting a paddle sweep only to leave her stumps exposed.

When Devine, who had made 50 or more in her last six T20Is, mishit a Poonam Yadav delivery and was caught for 14 they were in trouble.

With 40 needed from the last three overs Kerr (34 not out) rose to the challenge with a Shikha Pandey yorker preventing the six she needed off the last ball to win.

Meanwhile, Australia str­olled to back-to-back victories as a potent opening partnership between Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney helped beat Ban­gladesh by 86 runs.

Healy’s return to form continued as she made a carefree 83 to hit the top of the tournament’s run-scoring charts, ably supported by Mooney who ended unbeaten on 81.

Sri Lanka gave them a fright three days earlier but there were no such scares for the hosts as Bangladesh only managed 103-9 in reply and Meg Lanning’s side climbed to second in Group A.

Scores in brief: At Junction Oval, Melbourne: India 133-8 in 20 overs (Shafali Verma 46; Amelia Kerr 2-21, Rosemary Mair 2-27); New Zealand 130-6 in 20 overs (Amelia Kerr 34 not out, Katey Martin 25; Shikha Pandey 1-21). Result: India beat New Zealand by three runs.

At Manuka Oval, Canberra: Australia 189-1 in 20 overs (Alyssa Healy 83, Beth Mooney 81 not out; Salma Khatun 1-39). Bangladesh 103-9 in 20 overs (Farzana Hoque Pinky 36; Megan Schutt 3-21, Jess Jonassen

2-17). Result: Australia

beat Bangladesh by 86

runs.

POINTS TABLE

Tabulated under as played, won, lost, tied, points

Group A

India 3 3 0 0 6

Australia 3 2 1 0 4

New Zealand 2 1 0 0 2

Sri Lanka 2 0 2 0 0

Bangladesh 2 0 2 0 0

Group B

England 2 1 1 0 2

Pakistan 1 1 0 0 2

West Indies 2 1 1 0 2

South Africa 1 1 0 0 2

Thailand 2 0 2 0 0