India and Australia tuned up for Friday’s blockbuster ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 opener with hard-fought warm-up victories over the West Indies and South Africa respectively, on Tuesday.
India’s star-studded top four failed to fire against the West Indies, but Shikha Pandey's late show hauled them up to 107 and they defended it superbly, Poonam Yadav starring with the ball to earn a two-run win.
India’s vaunted top-order has been described as the most deadly at the World Cup but held no fear for the West Indies, who ripped out Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues with the scoreboard on 17.
Harmanpreet Kaur offered temporary respite but the skipper swept straight to square leg on 11 and Veda Krishnamurthy also perished while sweeping to leave India reeling at 52 for five.
Deepti Sharma’s measured innings of 21 from 32 balls laid a platform for Shikha Pandey to throw caution to the wind, the bowler plundering three fours and a six from the final two overs to take the total to 107 for eight.
Pandey struck early with the ball when Britney Cooper offered a return catch but Lee-Ann Kirby, returning to international cricket after a 12-year absence, took over with a controlled 41-ball 42.
But four wickets in as many overs sent the Windies spiralling to 67 for five as Kirby was castled by Sharma and Stafanie Taylor, Chedean Nation and Deandra Dottin followed.
Hayley Matthews unfurled some of her trademark strokes and Chinelle Henry helped take 19 from Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s penultimate over, but Yadav held her nerve and took two wickets in the last over to seal the win.
Deepti said: “When the wickets were falling early on, there was no negativity in the dressing room. We were just positive because we knew others could contribute.
“My aim was to stay with Harmanpreet and bat for the whole 20 overs. You saw that we can bat down to nine and ten with how Shikha batted at the end. We were very happy our performance.”
West Indies opener Lee-Ann Kirby added: “It was the perfect warm-up match. It was about learning about the players on the opposing team and we did that.
“It’s great being back in the team and every innings I have builds my confidence. We’re feeling good as a team heading into the tournament.”
In another warm-up match, Dane van Niekerk peeled off another half-century and Australia faltered in their chase, but a composed knocks from skipper Meg Lanning and vice-captain Rachael Haynes saw the tournament hosts home.
But by far the biggest shock of the day was Sri Lanka’s 10-wicket victory over England as Shashikala Siriwardana snaffled four wickets and Chamari Atapattu starred with bat and ball to earn an unlikely triumph.
India beat West Indies by two runs, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
India 107-8, 20 overs (Shikha Pandey 24 not out, Deepti Sharma 21; Anisa Mohammed 2-16, Shamilia Connell 2-20)
West Indies 105-7, 20 overs (Lee-Ann Kirby 42, Hayley Matthews 25; Poonam Yadav 3-20).
Australia beat South Africa by four wickets, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
South Africa 147-6, 20 overs (Dane van Niekerk 62, Lizelle Lee 29; Delissa Kimmince 2-34)
Australia 150-9, 19.3 overs (Meg Lanning 47, Rachael Haynes 39; Marizanne Kapp 4-16).
Sri Lanka beat England by 10 wickets, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
England 122-9, 20 overs (Amy Jones 23, Tammy Beaumont 23; Shashikala Siriwardana 4-22, Chamari Atapattu 3-21)
Sri Lanka 123-0, 12.3 overs (Chamari Atapattu 78 not out, Hasini Madushika 29 not out; Heather Knight 0-7).
- ICC Media Zone