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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

India prevail in last-ball thriller to qualify for World Cup semis, Shafali Verma stars again

India have become the first team from Group A to qualify for the semifinals with three wins from three matches. Amelia Kerr took the game to a thrilling finish but Shikha Pandey defended 4 runs off the last ball to see India through.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: February 27, 2020 1:09:35 pm
Shafali Verma’s 46 got India off to a blistering start. (Twitter/T20WorldCup)

India won their third match on the trot to qualify for the semifinals of the Women’s T20 World Cup in Melbourne on Thursday. Shafali Verma’s blistering start got India off to a good start against New Zealand before a late onslaught by Amelia Kerr took the game to a thrilling finish. Shikha Pandey defended 4 runs off the last ball to see India through.

First Innings: India had posted 133/8 in their 20 overs batting first. Shafali Verma’s attacking 46 was the big story in the first innings. India looked set for a score around the 150-mark when she was batting but New Zealand managed to come back into the match with some quick wickets. Man of the Match Verma laid down the gauntlet for India even as wickets fell around her.

Tanya Bhatia was promoted up the order and she played a 23-run knock alongside Verma to give India a good start. Wickets fell regularly after this partnership and it was up to Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav to give India a good finish.

Second Innings: New Zealand got off to an attacking start but lost their top order early on, putting them into pressure after the first 5 overs. Maddy Green and Katey Martin built a partnership in the middle over with the required run rate steadily climbing.

India had the upper hand till the last few overs of the chase, till Amelia Kerr’s 19-ball 34 brought life into the chase. Poonam Yadav – the tournament’s highest wicket taker – was plundered off 18 runs off the penultimate over of the day to force a thrilling final over. Shikha Pandey held her nerves – even as a few boundaries were hit off her – to bowl a great last ball and New Zealand fell short by 4 runs.

India have become the first team from Group A to qualify for the semifinals with three wins from three matches.

Harmanpreet Kaur: “We got a good start in the first 10 overs and we didn’t carry the momentum. We did bowl well in patches and some times we were not up to the mark and have to focus on those areas. She is giving us good starts and I hope she continues doing that as quick runs at the top is really important to us.”

Sophie Devine: “We thought we did a fantastic job, with how Shafali came out at the top, to restrict them to 133 on a reasonably good wicket. I think the way the team nearly closed out the game today was fantastic. Green and Martin spent time in the middle and then Kerr did a brilliant job of getting us that close. That’s all you can ask for.”

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