Bowlers rise to the occasion as India march into the semi-finals for the first time since 2010 in Women’s World T20.
The Indian Eves became the second team to march into the semi-finals from Group B in the ICC World T20, after they won their third consecutive match, beating Ireland by 52 runs. They join Australia as the second team to qualify for the semis from the group.
Batting first on a pitch that had seen rain earlier in the day, the opening duo of India, Mithali Raj, and Smriti Mandhana put on 67 runs on the total, with the latter playing as the aggressor. Raj, who was dropped on 3, got into her groove too after a sedate start – lofting Eimear Richardson in the fifth over before Mandhana was sent backpacking as she missed a slower delivery from Kim Garth. The player, who had not yet been able to make a mark in the tournament, scored 33 in 29 balls.
Raj, on the other hand, ensured to hold one end up as she relied more on drives and glides down the ground than power shots, but her run-rate of below 100 meant that the other batters had to take on the job of accelerating the innings. Though Jemimah Rodrigues tried to do just that in her 11 ball stay where she scored 18, the pressure was too much for the taking as she was soon stumped. India Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and later Veda Krishnamurthy too were out whilst looking for the big shots.
On the other hand though, Raj was a picture of serenity as she reached her 50 off 54 deliveries, however, her slow rate along with the inability of a middle-order player to strike some crucial blows towards the end meant that India were always waiting for a flourish that eventually never arrived. The team finished with just 145 on the board – a below-par total.
However, the Indian bowlers rose to the occasion, bowling economically and not giving away easy runs. Pacer Mansi Joshi, who came in for Arundhati Reddy, started the proceedings, conceding just 12 runs off her first 3 overs, including a maiden.
Spinners Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav further increased the pressure by ensuring that the charge was always on. As Poonam Yadav got into the act as well, the slowness through the air troubled the Irish batters, who were unable to catch on with the asking rate. Eventually, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals – they lost 5 wickets for 9 runs – as India won a low-scoring game to march into the semi-finals of the World T20 for the first time since 2010.