The undefeated Indian side faced off against England in the semi-finals of the Women’s WT20, in a bid to remove the scars of the finals defeat that the English team had inflicted on them last year in the 50-over tournament.

On a slow track that gripped, the India team, playing without Mithali Raj, folded up for just 112 runs after the batters committed hara-kiri in the second part of their innings. After opting to bat, Smriti Mandhana set the tone with a blistering 23-ball 34 and a lot was expected from the other players once she had taken India past 40 in the first six overs. She timed the balls to perfection and played with the turn, but it was all downhill for the side once she was dismissed.

Taniya Bhatia was sent back soon after, but a solid partnership between skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and teenager Jemimah Rodrigues took the score to 89 for 2 in the 14th over. Just when it seemed that India could get to at least 130 on a two-paced track, run-outs and ill-advised shots, where the Indians kept dancing down the track instead of playing within the crease, ensured that the side could manage just 23 more runs, getting bowled out for 112.

A lot was then expected from the Indian slow bowlers, who had stood up to perform exceptionally in the league games. With two early wickets and with the score reading 30 for 2 after the first 6 overs, India were on course to make a match of the low-scoring encounter, but Natalie Sciver and Amy Jones ensured no further casualties as they raced away to the target.

Both players showed the Indians how to bat on a tough surface, expertly putting the bad deliveries away, taking quick singles and making the most of the short balls that were bowled by the Indian tweakers. In the end, England comfortably won with 8 wickets and 17 balls to spare.

The tactical blunder of leaving out Mithali turned to haunt the Indians, who are left with a lot of areas to improve upon.


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