Antigua: England beat India by 8 wickets to reach the final of the Women’s World T20. India started off well with the ball, defending 113, as Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav took care of both the openers in the powerplay overs.
In what turned out as a golden opportunity to avenge their ICC 50-over World Cup final loss to England, India were handicapped by a lower order batting collapse that saw them being bundled out for a meagre 112 after opting to bat.
In Saturday’s summit clash, No.2 ranked England will face traditional rivals World No.1 Australia, who outclassed defending champions and hosts West Indies by 71 runs in the other semi-final of the day.
On a pitch that demanded technique and patience, England’s chase of 113 got off to a tricky start with the opening duo of Danielle Wyatt (8) and Tammy Beaumont (1) departing early, thanks to Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav.
England could soon have lost their third wicket in the form of top scorer Natalie Sciver (54 not out off 43 balls; 4X5) had Poonam Yadav not dropped her at midwicket off Anuja Patil when the right-hander was on two.
Even after that Harmanpreet Kaur’s ploy of continuing with the slower bowlers for the first 10 overs gave the English duo of Sciver and stumper Amy Ellen Jones (51 not out off 42; 4X3, 6X1), the license to adjust accordingly.
The right-handed pair came all guns blazing, with Amy taking the attack to the opposition with her aggressive stroke play before Natalie matched her shot for shot to first bring up their respective fifties, and take England to their fourth World Cup final with 17 balls to spare.
Earlier, India’s ploy to leave out the veteran Mithali Raj on a pitch that demanded techinique and patience, backfired as the the women in blue squandered a brisk start before losing their last eight wickets for mere 23 runs to fold for a meagre total.
Smriti Mandhana (34 off 23; 4X5, 6X1) top scored for India, getting the team to a quick 43-run start with stumper Taniya Bhatia (11) before young Jemimah Rodrigues came up with a run-a-ball 26 to solidify things.At 89/3 in the 14th over, the platform was set for skipper Harmanpreet (16 off 20; 6X1) to launch the attack for another massive total but unfortunately the Indian innings got derailed from there on.
India kept losing wickets in heaps with the next seven batters falling like nine pins and even failing to reach the double digits.For the English women, skipper Heather Knight was the pick of the bowlers, returning 3/9 while Kirstie Gordon and Sophie Ecclestone contributed well by taking two wickets each.
Brief Scores: India 112 (Smriti Mandhana 34, Jemimah Rodrigues 26; Heather Knight 3/9, Kirstie Gordon 2/20, Sophie Ecclestone 2/22) lose to England 116/2 (Natalie Sciver 54 not out, Amy Ellen Jones 51 not out; Radha Yadav 1/20) by 8 wickets.