India ambled along to a win against their Irish counterparts to reach the semi-finals of the Women's World T20 in Windies. On a slow, sluggish wicket, India found batting quite difficult and the innings never really took off despite a 67-run opening stand. They came back strong with the ball, never letting the Irish off the hook, and in the end walked off with a comfortable 52-run win.
Here is our player's report card from the encounter.
Mithali Raj - 10/10
Making use of an early reprieve, Mithali slammed her second consecutive half-century in the tournament after being asked to open again. The former skipper was a tad bogged down by the slowness of the wicket and was criticised for not scoring at a higher rate. But against some disciplined Ireland bowling on a soft wicket, she ensured India got the perfect start to reach a decent total. A knee injury which forced her to go out during the second innings could see her miss the clash against Australia.
Smriti Mandhana - 9/10
Mandhana began her innings with a beautifully timed swivelled pull off Eimear Richardson. She was on the attack from the word go but slowed down as Mithali took charge. The opener used her feet against the spinners pretty well and put the disciplined Irish bowlers off their lengths. With 67 on the board, Mandhana was undone by a slower one from Kim Garth. She had made a solid 33 off 29 balls by then, setting the stage for a final flourish that never really came.
Jemimah Rodrigues - 3/10
After a spectacular beginning to the tournament against New Zealand, Jemimah registered back-to-back failures as she came out with all guns blazing only to step out carelessly for a heedless swipe against Laura Delany and to be stumped in the process. Jemimah slammed three fours in no time as she raced to 18 but was in a hurry to push the scoring rate and perished in the process.
Harmanpreet Kaur - 8/10
Harmanpreet had a rare off day with the bat but more than made up for it by stepping up with the ball and delivering four excellent overs where she leaked just 10 runs and picked up the big fish, Isobel Joyce. Harmanpreet was extremely tight with her lines and barely gave anything away in her spell. She would, however, rue her dismissal - slamming a full toss straight to the deep fielder - before she could give the Indian innings some much needed push.
Veda Krishnamurthy - 1/10
Picked for her finishing skills, Veda had another off day as she fell to a peach of a yorker from Lucy O'Reilly. She had ambled along to 9 in as many balls with India looking for some momentum in the final few overs. Before she could turn around her day, O'Reilly delivered a rip-roaring yorker to send her back. Veda will want to use the last group game to find some form ahead of the semi-finals.
Dayalan Hemalatha - 1/10
Hemalatha went for 10 in her only over in the match and wasn't used again as Harmanpreet and Jemimah stepped up to bowl. She has had a great start to this World T20 but had an ordinary outing, yesterday, as she leaked way too many defending a par total. She was run-out for four in the first innings after a miscommunication with Radha Yadav.
Deepti Sharma - 8/10
After two wicket-less outings, Deepti got her groove back at Guyana on Thursday. She injected some momentum in the Indian innings with a 7-ball 11 and returned with the ball to pick up 2/15 in her three overs. Deepti cleaned up Gaby Lewis with a slow off-break in the last over of powerplay and her first ball in the match. In the death, she returned to snare Shauna Kavanagh to make it a memorable day.
Radha Yadav - 9/10
Radha Yadav caused harakiri in the Irish middle-order with her immaculate stump-to-stump bowling. Her left-arm spin accounted for skipper Delany as she stepped out only to be stumped after misreading the turn and flight. Radha was part of a team hat-trick in the penultimate over as she picked up a wicket on either side of a run-out, all happening off three consecutive deliveries.
Poonam Yadav - 8/10
On an another excellent day with the ball, Poonam Yadav, the top wicket-taker in T20Is this year, picked up one wicket and gave away just 14 in her four overs to take India to the semi-finals. The leg-spinner lured the experienced opener Clare Shillington with flight and had her stumped, derailing the Ireland run-chase in the process. She gave little away in her spell and made life extremely tough for the Irish players on a slow surface.
Mansi Joshi - 6/10
Replacing Arundhati Reddy in the playing XI, Mansi was right on the money in her three-over spell that included a maiden in her second over. The Uttarakhand fast bowler set an example in her opening spell for the slow bowlers by not trying anything too fancy and sticking to her channels. She wasn't used after the powerplay overs but had done her bit in a three-over burst that went for just 12.
Taniya Bhatia - 7/10
Despite not getting to bat after being pushed down the order to accommodate veteran Mithali at the top, Bhatia had a busy day behind the stumps. On a sluggish surface, India's array of slower bowlers were consistently beating the Irish batswomen with flight and Bhatia had to be ever so alert behind the stumps. She excelled with three stumpings, including two crucial ones, to give India the edge.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor
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