ICC Women’s T20 World Cup: India qualify for semi-finals post-last-ball thriller against New Zealand

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ICC Women’s T20 World Cup: India qualify for semi-finals post-last-ball thriller against New Zealand
India Women's Team. (Image Source: Twitter)

India’s women team became the first to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s T20 World after clinching a nail-biting thriller against New Zealand by 4 runs at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.

This is now India’s third consecutive win in the tournament, which enabled them to top the charts in Group A. Earlier in the day, the White Ferns won the toss and put India to bat first. Just when India was looking to build on their positive start, they received a major jolt with star opener Smriti Mandhana playing the ball onto her stumps.

Shafali Verma and Tanya Bhatia tried to consolidate with their composed partnership, but the latter succumbed to relentless pressure against disciplined bowling from the New Zealand attack.

The inning also witnessed a different facet of Verma’s batting who intended to anchor through the Indian total with wickets falling at the other end, and still managed a strike rate of above 135, thanks to her four boundaries and three maximums. She was later rewarded with the player of the match title for her efforts.

The Blue Brigade was struggling with the wicket of Shafali, reducing them to 95/5.
But late onslaught from Radha Yadav and Shikha Pandey helped their team post a competitive total of 133 for the loss of 8 wickets in their 20 overs.

Spells from Rosemary Mair and Amelia Kerr, who picked up a couple of wickets each, consistently put the brakes on Indian proceedings. Coming out to bat, the New Zealand women’s team received a flying start with 12 runs off the very first over.

But a wicket in the subsequent over, followed by the dismissals of Kiwi giants Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine, left New Zealand tottering at 38-3 by the end of 9th over. It was the partnership between Maddy Green and Katy Martin’s put the Kiwis back into the contest.

All of the Indian bowlers constantly applied pressure on the White Ferns, with wickets at regular intervals, backed by their fielders. By the end of the innings, all five Indian bowlers used picked a wicket each.

The see-saw battle between the two sides continued with Kerr’s knock. She took India’s ace spinner, Poonam Yadav, with eight wickets under her belt already in the tournament, for 18 runs in the penultimate over of the match, with 34 required to win.

Shikha Pandey, with 16 required off the final over, was handed the ball. The match turned out to be the last-ball thriller with five runs required off the last delivery.

The behind the wicket shots, which enabled Kerr to score as many as 34 off 18 balls, ultimately led to New Zealand’s downfall, as Pandey nailed a perfect yorker.

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CATEGORY: India, New Zealand, News, Women Cricket

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Shubro is an ardent fan of sports, be it cricket, soccer, or tennis, he has an eye for all. Meticulous cricket writer by the day and an avid FIFA mobile player by the night, his life revolves around sports. The goal is to trott around the globe and to spread happiness through his goofy sense of humour. Write to him at mukherjeeshubro@gmail.com.