Summary: Match 9 – India clinches a 4-run thriller against New Zealand to book semi-final berth

India has booked its berth in the semi-final, courtesy a fantastic win over New Zealand on Thursday at Melbourne.

 

Shafali Verma. Pic Credits: ICC
Shafali Verma. Pic Credits: ICC

 

Winning the toss and putting India to bat first, the White Ferns did a good job to restrict the Women in Blue for 133-8 in 20 overs. 16-year old opening bat Shafali Verma was again the key to India’s batting as the child prodigy muscled 46 (34), hitting four boundaries and three maximums. Wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia, who was sent at number three, played her part with 23 (25), giving good support to Verma. At the half way stage, the Indians were at 75-2 and would have expected to get to the 150-run mark. However the New Zealanders tamed the Women in Blue to reduce them to 133-8 in 20 overs. Rosemary Mair and Amelia Kerr were the pick of the bowlers for White Ferns as they struck with two wickets apiece.

Chasing 134, Sophie Devine and co. would have fancied their chances. Conversely, the Indian bowlers had other plans. Defending 133 against Australia in the first match, Harmanpreet Kaur and co. were determined to repeat the feat. Going in with five frontline bowlers, India defended the target, to clinch a nail-biting four-run victory over the White Ferns. Each of the five scalped one wicket each. The fielders were electric and left no stone unturned to support the bowlers. With 34 to get in the last two overs, India definitely had an upper hand. However, Amelia Kerr (34 not out off 19) got the Indian team thinking as she won the leg spinner battle against Poonam Yadav smashing 18 runs from her over. With 16 to get off six balls, Shikha Pandey, showed her class as she nailed in useful yorkers at crucial times to help her side win by a minuscule margin of four runs. At the end of the play, the White Ferns were reduced to 129-6 in 20 overs.

Winning three out of three games, India is sitting at the top of the table quite comfortably, while New Zealand has had mixed fortunes, with a 1:1 win-lose ratio.

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The Women in Blue will face off against Sri Lanka on Saturday at Melbourne, while New Zealand will take on Bangladesh on the same day and at the same venue.

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