Women’s T20 World Cup: India beat New Zealand in a thriller, enter semifinals

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Indian women celebrate their win over New Zealand. AFP

MELBOURNE, February 27: India entered the semifinals of the women’s T20 World Cup after Shafali Verma’s 34-ball 46 followed by a superlative performance from the bowlers helped the team notch up a narrow four-run win over New Zealand on Thursday.
Invited to bat, India posted a below-par 133 for eight in the group A match with Shafali top-scoring with a 34-ball 46 and Taniya Bhatia chipping in with a 25-ball 23.
They, however, produced a disciplined performance with the ball to restrict New Zealand to 129 for six and register their third successive win in the tournament and seal a last-four spot.
With this win, India topped Group A, having beaten Australia and Bangladesh in their last two outing.
“It is a great feeling when your team is performing like that,” India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said after the match.
“We did the same mistakes, we got a good start in the first 10 overs and we didn’t carry the momentum. We did bowl well in patches and some times, we were not up to the mark and have to focus on those areas,” she added.
Defending a below-par total, India introduced spin straight away but Deepti Sharma bled 12 runs with opener Rachel Priest (12) hitting her for two boundaries.
But experienced pacer Shikha Pandey removed Priest in the next over when she had her caught at mid wicket.
With Shikha and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad bowling in tandem, New Zealand played with caution to reach 28 for one.
Back into the attack, Deepti then cleaned up Bates with a beauty of a delivery as New Zealand slipped to 30 for two.
Poonam Yadav and Radha Yadav then mounted the pressure on the Kiwis and soon the Black Caps were 34 for 3 when the former dismissed skipper Sophie Devine (14).
Maddy Green (24) and Katey Martin (25) then tried to resurrect the innings with a 36-ball 43-run stand.
However, Gayakwad returned to remove Green, who danced down the pitch only to end up with an outside edge as Bhatia did the rest.
Radha then dismissed Martin to leave New Zealand at 90 for 5 in 16.3 overs.
Healy, Mooney lead Aus to crushing win over B’desh
Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney hit attacking half-centuries in a dominating 151-run opening stand as Australia hammered Bangladesh by 86 runs in their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup match, here on Thursday.
The partnership between Healy (83) and Mooney (81 not out) is Australia’s highest for any wicket at the Women’s T20 World Cup.
Australia’s 189 for one, the highest total of the tournament, proved too much for Bangladesh who could manage only 103 for nine.
Healy began with bristling intent, peeling three boundaries from Jahanara Alam’s opening over.
Salma Khatun opted to take pace off the ball with five overs of spin in the powerplay but Healy rocked back and cleared long-on to take the score to 53 without loss from the first six overs.
The keeper-batter made it look easy as she struck sixes over long-off and then mid-wicket from Khadiza Tul Kubra, bringing up a brutal 26-ball fifty.
Mooney turned over the strike before showing her own strength down the ground with three boundaries in as many overs to bring up the first T20I century partnership for the openers.
Their first reprieve came when Rumana Ahmed beat Mooney’s bat but Nigar Sultana Joty was ponderous in whipping off the bails. (PTI)