With tonight’s win against Ireland, India has booked their place in the semi-finals. 3 victories in a row, seating at the second position on points table after Australia. On the contrary, it is the third loss for Ireland in the tournament. Being at the bottom in the points table this surely is their exit from the World Cup this year.
Electing to ball, Ireland managed to restrict India at 145-6 in 20 overs, an above par score. India opened the innings with Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana, two of the best performer in the team. Mithali Raj, who was the hero in the last match continued with her form and went on to hit yet another half century. Her 2nd fifty in the tournament and 17th overall. She looked in good nick with her bat and the way ball connected with her bat today was nothing short of bliss to watch. She scored 51 runs in 56 balls comprised of four boundaries and one six.
Smriti pulled off her natural game today. She hit some good shorts, looked confident and played some good cricket. It was very necessary for the team and for herself to get back the momentum. She looked in good form as she hit 33 runs in 29 balls (4x4s 1x6s). She got bowled of Kim Garth’s straight delivery as she tried to knock it off the ground while completely missing it. Raj and Mandhana put forth 67 runs partnership for 1st wicket. Rodriguez played a short yet pleasant innings of 18 runs. Skipper Kaur came in and started hitting the ball, the way she played, it looked like it would turn into a big innings but proved to be a short cameo. A single, a six and wicket, 7 runs in 3 balls and she was walking back to the pavilion. In an attempt of giving strike to Deepti, Hemlatha lost her wicket in form of a run-out.
Although, Irish bowlers couldn’t restrict India at a low total but the runs on the board could’ve been more if it wasn’t for Kim Garth. She took 2 main wickets, one of Mithali Raj and the other of Smriti Mandhana. In her spell of 4 overs she gave 22 runs with an economy rate of 5.5
While chasing the total, Ireland started off well with the bat. Shillington looked confident with the bat as she completed her 1000th T20 run today. She scored 23 runs in 23 balls with three boundaries but couldn’t really capitulate on the opportunity, in an attempt to hit a big shot she left the crease and got stumped of spinner Poonam’s ball. Gaby Lewis (9) couldn’t contribute through the bat yet again in the tournament. Isobel Joyce was the only batter to cross 30 runs. She scored 33 runs in 38 balls with four boundaries and then lost her wicket to skipper Kaur. Delany (9) and Lara Maritz (0) both became prey of Radha Yadav and got stumped by Taniya Bhatia. Kim Garth (3) couldn’t contribute with her bat as she was bowled out by Radha Yadav, who took most wickets today. 3 wickets, two stumped and one bowled, in her spell of 4 overs by giving 25 runs.
India pulled an overall performance today, they were exceptionally good with the ball as they won by massive 52 runs.
Harmanpreet Kaur : Happy that we have qualified for the semis. there are still a few things that we need to sit down and talk about. It is the short format. Sometimes your main bowler might not have a great day and that is why Jemmy and me bowled. We need to improve on our batting and bowling also. We did not bat according to our plan and the same with our bowling. We have to be aggressive all the time if you have to win against Australia.
Laura Delany : I am delighted how we approached the game. To restrict India to 145, who scored 195 against New Zealand was a huge plus for us. over the last few days, our batting has been exposed at the top level. A lot of players and our families over the course of this tournament have supportive of us.
Mithali Raj, Player of the match : I am sure it will get better (dhoni injury) and be prepared for the next game. The wicket was quite challenging. It was slow and soft. My partnership with Smriti was very crucial. Hopefully we will get a better wicket in the next game. when someone is going through a lean patch it is important to remain positive, I am sure she (Smriti) will get better with every game. This team has definitely improved a lot from the last World Cup. A lot of young girls in the team and they want to change the approach towards T20s, and I definitely want them to win the World Cup. You are prepared for 2-3 shots for one delivery and you try and innovate your game to suit the format, you only need to clear the infield in the powerplay to get boundaries and it’s something I have worked on and I am sure that I’ll keep scoring runs for India.
India won by 52 runs
India 145-6 in 20 overs (Mithali Raj 51 runs, Smriti Mandhana 33 runs, Jemimah Rodriguez 18 runs; Kim Garth 2/22)
Ireland 93-8 in 20 overs (Isobel Joyce 33 runs, Shillington 23 runs, Delany 9 runs; Radha Yadav 3/25)