India bowlers continued tormenting the opposition batters as India beat New Zealand in a thrilling contest to cement a semifinal berth with their third straight win in the Women’s T20 World Cup at Junction Oval in Melbourne on Thursday. With this win, India sit at the top of their Group A with 6 points from 3 matches.
After a batting collapse, India managed to put just 133 on the scoreboard in 20 overs but their spinners once again rose to the occasion to defend the total. However, Amelia Kerr held her nerves to bring the situation down to 5 runs off the last delivery with her 19-ball 34 but could not see her side through as New Zealand suffered a heart-breaking 4-run defeat.
New Zealand star batters Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates failed to get among the runs in the crucial clash. Poonam Yadav broke Devine’s run of 6 successive 50-plus scores in the format while Deepti Sharma dismissed Bates for her 50th T20I wicket.
Radha Yadav, who was playing her first game in the tournament, made contributions in all the three departments, as she finished with figures of 1 for 25 and scored 9-ball 14 with the bat to take India past 130.
After being put to bat first under overcast conditions, India opener Smriti Mandhana failed to get a positive start on her return to the playing XI after missing India’s 2nd Group A match against Bangladesh due to fever. Mandhana hit two boundaries before she was removed in the 3rd over by Lea Tahuhu.
However, Shafali Verma continued to bat with the same aggression as she batted in her first two games. After Sophie Devine introduced spin in the Powerplay, Shafali smashed Anna Peterson for back-to-back sixes. With some good batting Shafali and wicketkeeper-batsman Taniya Bhatia, India made up for an early loss as they were 49 after 6 overs.
Bhatia contributed 25-ball 23, but she also played 6 dot balls in the Powerplay. After Bhatia’s wicket, Shafali held to one end but kept losing her partners in quick succession. New Zealand got their chances to get the prized wicket of the Indian opener, but she was dropped twice–once at long-on in the 8th over and then at the mid-wicket in the 10th over.