All-round England set final date with Australia
GB news 24 desk//
Following on an all-round bowling effort, Natalie Sciver and Amy Jones hit half-centuries to anchor England’s 113-run chase on a two-paced Antigua wicket and knock India out of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2018.
Unbeaten in the group stages, a Mithali Raj-less India folded for 112 courtesy a dramatic batting collapse in the second half of their innings. However, apart from two quick wickets in the powerplay, England seemed hardly troubled in the chase they wrapped up on the first ball of the 18th over.
Defending 112, India went with an all-spin attack but were realistically in the game only until the powerplay where they took out both the England openers cheaply. Tammy Beaumont picked out mid wicket in the second over, while Danielle Wyatt holed out to deep midwicket in the fifth. But while England seemed to have fallen tad behind, ending the powerplay on 30 for 2, they quickly took control of the game with a skillful 92-run unbeaten stand between Jones and Sciver.
The duo made the made the tricky Antigua wicket look comfortable to bat on, bringing up the fifty of their partnership off just 39 deliveries. Both Sciver and Jones expertly put the bad balls away, every time the Indian spinners dropped it short, fetching at least a boundary every over. India’s tactic to leave the mid-wicket region vacant made for easy scoring opportunities and kept England’s scoreboard ticking.
Sciver raised her fourth T20I fifty with a pull to deep midwicket in what turned out to be the penultimate over of the chase, while Jones sealed it with a boundary to also bring up her maiden fifty in the format, helping England over the line with 17 balls to spare and set up a third final with arch rivals Australia in WWT20 history.
Opting to bat first, Smriti Mandhana set the tone for India in the powerplay. A couple of top-edges falling in no-man’s land notwithstanding, Mandhana played with the turn and timed the ball to perfection in her 23-ball 34. All of India’s five boundaries and a six in the powerplay came off the left-hander’s bat. She was reprieved on 14 by Sophie Ecclestone, who eventually made up for the drop with a return catch though not before the Indian opener had added 20 more to her tally.
England struck once more soon after with Taniya Bhatia departing for a laboured 11, but an enterprising partnership between the in-form captain Harmanpreet Kaur and well-set Jemimah Rodrigues had put the innings back on track. At 89 for 2 in the 14th over, India were looking at a potentially match-winning score but it quickly went pear-shaped from there on. They lost their eight remaining wickets for just 23 more, to fold for a sub-par 112.
India’s implosion started with the run out of Rodrigues, who’d made up for the dots earlier with three quick boundaries, only to fall for a run-a-ball 26. Kirstie Gordon’s next over was a game-changer.
An ill-advised slog-sweep ended Veda Krishnamurthy’s short stay at the crease – her single-digit streak extending to six successive innings in the format now. Harmanpreet’s dismissal three balls later – when India had just 94 runs on the board – left a lot for the relatively inexperienced lower order to do.
Curiously, Knight, who was on a hat-trick after taking out D Hemalatha and Anuja Patil in the 17th over – chose not to bring herself back on. Not that it had any impact on India’s self-destruction.
Brief scores: India 112 all out in 19.3 overs (Smriti Mandhana 34, Jemimah Rodrigues 26; Heather Knight 3-9, Kristie Gordon 2-20) lost to England 116/2 in 17.1 overs (Amy Jones 53*, Natalie Sciver 52*; Radha Yadav 1-20) by eight wickets.