India won their third match after winning a thriller in the last over against New Zealand to qualify for the semifinals of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup
16 yr old Shafali Verma’s blistering start got India off to a good start against New Zealand before a late onslaught by Amelia Kerr took the game to a thrilling finish. Shikha Pandey defended 4 runs off the last ball to see India through to their 3rd straight win
First Innings: India had posted 133/8 in their 20 overs batting first. Shafali Verma’s attacking 46 was the big story in the first innings. India looked set for a score around the 150-mark when she was batting but New Zealand managed to come back into the match with some quick wickets. Man of the Match Verma laid down the gauntlet for India even as wickets fell around her. Tanya Bhatia was promoted up the order and she played a 23-run knock alongside Verma to give India a good start. No player has ever scored more runs at a higher strike rate at a single Women’s T20 World Cup than Shafali Verma in 2020 (114 runs at 172.72).
Second Innings: New Zealand got off to an attacking start but lost their top order early on, putting them into pressure after the first 5 overs. Maddy Green and Katey Martin built a partnership in the middle over with the required run rate steadily climbing. India had the upper hand till the last few overs of the chase, till Amelia Kerr’s 19-ball 34 brought life into the chase. Poonam Yadav – the tournament’s highest wicket taker – was plundered off 18 runs off the penultimate over of the day to force a thrilling final over. Shikha Pandey held her nerves – even as a few boundaries were hit off her – to bowl a great last ball and New Zealand fell short by 4 runs. India have become the first team from Group A to qualify for the semifinals with three wins from three matches.
Player of the match Shafali Verma – She speaks through Jemimah acting as an interpreter: “Happy with how things went. I hope to keep providing a good start to the Indian team. There were not easy runs, I converted the bad balls and played for singles, doubles until then. All I’ve done and achieved is courtesy my father, academy and the support and the practice I have had.
New Zealand playing XI: Sophie Devine(c), Rachel Priest(w), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Katey Martin, Amelia Kerr, Hayley Jensen, Anna Peterson, Leigh Kasperek, Lea Tahuhu, Rosemary Mair.
India playing XI: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Taniya Bhatia(w), Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur(c), Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
It will be between Australia and New Zealand to book a place in the semi-final from Group A. India have become the first team to qualify for the semifinal. This will be India’s fourth semifinal appearance in Women’s World T20 – 2009, 2010, 2018 and 2020.
Captain Harmanpreet Kaur: “In the last three games we’ve learnt a lot. Now it is about taking it day by day. We made a strong start, looked good after 10 overs. But didn’t carry that momentum forward. We need to do better at that in the next few games. In the bowling, we were good but afforded some mistakes. We can’t do that when games get tougher ahead. Can’t keep making the silly mistakes.
This article was originally published in IndianExpress.com