New Delhi, November 16: Exhibiting a controlled yet defining performance the Indian spinners clinched a semi-final berth with a comfortable 52 run victory against Ireland of the ICC Women’s World T20 on Thursday. With their third win, India with six points were assured of a last-four spot along with Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Ireland already even before their campaign could officially end.
After managing 145 for 6 on a slow track, Indian spinners maintained tight leash on Irish women restricting them to 93 for 8 in 20 overs. Deepti Sharma gave India the breakthrough as she removed Lewis for a painstakingly slow 9 off her very first delivery. Claire Shillington and Isobel tried to up the run-rate but all to no avail as quality of India bowling always kept the score in check.
Radha Yadav was India’s most successful bowler picking up three wickets in her four overs, while captain Harmanpreet Kaur bowled her four overs for mere 10 runs, stifling the Irish batters. The result also means end of the end of the road for Pakistan and New Zealand who are on two and zero points respectively.
India next take on Australia to determine who takes the top spot in Group B of the tournament.
Earlier, Ireland managed to restrict India to a below-par score of 146/6 in their allotted 20 overs. Opener Mithali Raj was the pick of the batters for the ‘Women in Blue’ as she slammed her 17th T20I half-century, which also brough her the player of the match award.
Smriti Mandhana and Mithali got off to a good start as they added 67 runs in the first 10 overs. The duo kept rotating the strike well in the initial overs and then hit a few boundaries to put the pressure on the opposition.
Ireland managed to break the opening stand with the help of medium-pacer Kim Garth, who rattled the southpaw’s stumps for 33. The decision to bring in Jemimah Rodrigues at number three didn’t work out well as Mithali never got going despite hitting four boundaries and a six. Young Rodrigues hit three fours in his 11-ball-18 but was stumped off Laura Delany’s wide delivery when she tried to give charge.
Harmanpreet Kaur hit a six but was soon dismissed before she could add crucial runs to the total in the dying overs. As wickets fell at one end, Mithali couldn’t shift gears at the other and was finally removed in the 19th over by Garth.