India became the first team to reach the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals yesterday after beating New Zealand by three runs to register a third successive victory at the tournament.
India, put into bat, could not make the most of a strong start but their 133-8 still proved beyond Sophie Devine’s team, who managed 130-6.
Once again, leading India’s charge was opener Shafali Verma whose 46 earned the 16-year-old her second player-of-the-match award at Melbourne’s Junction Oval.
Her opening partner Smriti Mandhana disappointed again though, dragging a wide Lea Tahuhu delivery onto her stumps to depart on 11.
Verma and Taniya Bhatia (23) forged a half-century stand to prop up the Indian innings, aided by some sloppy catching by their opponents.
Verma, who smashed Anna Peterson for back-to-back sixes, was first dropped by Maddy Green at long on and then at midwicket by Tahuhu.
The opener eventually holed out at long-off as wickets started tumbling.
New Zealand wobbled early in their chase after their top three, including skipper Devine, departed with the team reeling at 34-3.
Green made 24 and Katey Martin contributed 25 to arrest the slide but it was Amelia Kerr’s lion-hearted 34 not out down the order which injected excitement into the contest. Needing 16 off the last over from Shikha Pandey, Hayley Jensen and Kerr hit a boundary each and ran three singles but could not reach the target.
Defending champions Australia remained on course to be the second team from Group A to make the semi-finals after crushing Bangladesh by 86 runs in Canberra. Electing to bat, the hosts capitalised on a blistering start from Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney to post 189-1, the highest total at this year’s tournament.
Player-of-the-match Healy smacked three sixes in her 53-ball 83, while Mooney remained not out on 81 off 58 balls.
The duo featured in a record opening stand of 151 before Healy fell in the 17th over.
Left with a mountain to climb, Bangladesh managed 103-9, losing three wickets in three balls, including two run-outs, in the final over.
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