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PHOTOS: Shafali stars as India beat NZ to make semis

Last updated on: February 27, 2020 17:18 IST
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Healy and Mooney blast Australia past Bangladesh

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India's Shafali Verma bats during the ICC Women's T20 World Cup match against New Zealand, at Junction Oval in Melbourne

IMAGE: India's Shafali Verma bats during the ICC Women's T20 World Cup match against New Zealand, at Junction Oval in Melbourne, on Thursday. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Shafali Verma's 34-ball 46, followed by a superlative performance from the bowlers, helped India score a four-run victory over New Zealand in a crucial Group A match and seal a place in the semi-finals of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup, in Melbourne, on Thursday.

 

Put in to bat, India posted a below-par 133 for eight, with Shafali top-scoring with a 34-ball 46 and Taniya Bhatia chipping in with a 25-ball 23.

India, however, produced a disciplined performance with the ball to restrict New Zealand to 129 for six and register their third successive win in the tournament.

Radha Yadav, left, takes the catch to dismiss Sophie Devine.

IMAGE: Radha Yadav, left, takes the catch to dismiss Sophie Devine. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

With this victory, India top Group A, having beaten Australia and Bangladesh in their last two outings.

Defending the total, India introduced spin straight away but Deepti Sharma bled 12 run opener Rachel Priest (12) hit her for two boundaries.

But experienced pacer Shikha Pandey dismissed Priest in the next over, having her caught at mid-wicket.

With Shikha and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad bowling in tandem, New Zealand played with caution to reach 28 for one.

Katey Martin scored 25 off 28 balls, including fours.

IMAGE: Katey Martin scored 25 off 28 balls, including fours. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Back into the attack, Deepti then cleaned up Bates with a beauty of a delivery as New Zealand slipped to 30 for two.

Poonam Yadav and Radha Yadav then mounted the pressure on the Kiwis and soon the Black Caps were 34 for 3 when the former dismissed skipper Sophie Devine (14).

Maddy Green (24) and Katey Martin (25) tried to resurrect the innings with a 36-ball 43-run stand.

However, Gayakwad returned to remove Green, who danced down the pitch only to end up with an outside edge and Bhatia did the rest.

New Zealand's Amelia Kerr, right, celebrates after dismissing Shafali Verma

IMAGE: New Zealand's Amelia Kerr, right, celebrates after dismissing Shafali Verma. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Radha then dismissed Martin to leave New Zealand at 90 for 5 in 16.3 overs.

Needing 44 off 21 balls, Kerr (34) blasted four boundaries to accumulate 18 runs in the penultimate over bowled by Poonam to bring the equation down to 16 off six balls.

In the final over, Heyley Jensen (11) and Kerr cracked a four each but Shikha held her nerve in the end to seal victory.

Taniya Bhatia leaves the field after being dismissed

IMAGE: Taniya Bhatia leaves the field after being dismissed. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Earlier, 16-year-old Shafali provided the fireworks as India scored 49 for one in the powerplay overs. But India lost six wickets for 43 runs and squandered the good start.

Smriti Mandhana (11), who returned to the playing eleven after missing the last match due to illness, departed early but Shafali and Taniya (23) kept the scoreboard ticking, adding 51 runs for the second wicket.

Taniya was caught by Amelia Kerr at backward point in the 10th over, while Jemimah Rodrigues (10) was caught by Kerr in the 12th as India slipped to 80 for 3.

India's players are all smiles after clinching victory.

IMAGE: India's players are all smiles after clinching victory. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur's (1) poor form also continued as she was soon back to the hut after being caught and bowled by Leigh Kasperek.

Shafali, who was dropped at long-on in the eighth over and at mid-wicket in the 10th, then holed out to Jensen at deep extra cover. She had four hits to the fence and three maximum shots in her innings.

Left-handed batter Deepti Sharma (8) and Veda Krishnamurthy (6) brought up the 100 in the 15th over but both departed soon as India slumped to 104 for 6.

Radha Yadav then blasted 14 off nine balls, which included a six in the final over, to give some respectability to the total.

Healy and Mooney blast Australia past Bangladesh

Australia's openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney celebrate their 100-run partnership during the ICC Women's T20 World Cup match against Bangaldesh

IMAGE: Australia's openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney celebrate their 100-run partnership during the ICC Women's T20 World Cup match against Bangaldesh, at Manuka Oval, in Canberra, on Thursday. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

In Thursday's other match of Group A, Australia beat Bangladesh by 86 runs.

Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney put on 151 for the first wicket, Australia’s highest partnership for any wicket at the women’s T20 World Cup, to see the hosts cruise to victory.

Healy’s return to form continued as she made a carefree 83 to hit the top of the tournament’s run-scoring charts, ably supported by Mooney who ended unbeaten on 81.

Sri Lanka gave them a fright three days earlier but there were no such scares for the hosts as Bangladesh only managed 103 for nine in reply and Meg Lanning’s side climbed to second in Group A.

Brie scores:

Australia beat Bangladesh by 86 runs, Manuka Oval, Canberra

Australia 189-1, 20 overs (Alyssa Healy 83, Beth Mooney 81 not out; Salma Khatun 1-39)

Bangladesh 103-9, 20 overs (Fargana Hoque Pinky 36; Megan Schutt 3-21, Jess Jonassen 2-17)

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