Smriti Mandhana’s 87 off 56 and rain together conspired to deny Ireland in Gqeberha and launched India into the semifinal of the ongoing Women’s T20 World Cup. Chasing a target of 156, Ireland were stopped in their tracks by inclement weather at St George’s Park. Then at 54/2 in the ninth over, Laura Delany’s side was found to be five runs short of the DLS target, resulting in a narrow loss that saw India join Australia and England in the final four.
The final league game between South Africa and Bangladesh will decide the fourth semifinalist. If the hosts win then they will be through; if they lose, New Zealand stand a good chance of making it through considering the marginal NRR difference between the two teams.
Opting to bat, India capped off a fine Powerplay at 42/0, with Mandhana being the aggressor between herself and Shafali Verma. The duo added 62 for the first wicket before Shafali holed out in the deep off Delany’s bowling. Mandhana stayed on to bring up a 43-ball half-century, her innings rife with gorgeous shots on either side of the wicket, but Ireland were guilty of dropping her thrice in total. She was first reprieved on 32 off a full toss, then on 46 again and finally on 74 – and Ireland paid a hefty price for it as Mandhana anchored two consecutive half-century stands with Shafali (24) and Harmanpreet Kaur (13). Importantly, she scored bulk of the runs in both those partnerships, hitting 9 fours and 3 sixes en route.
Delany returned to account for Harmanpreet and Richa Ghosh in the 16th over and then Orla Prendergast picked up two in the 19th over to threaten stalling India in the death overs. But Jemimah Rodrigues struck two boundaries off Arlene Kelly in the final over to get India past 150 and pinch 10 runs off the final over.
Facing a stiff target, Ireland’s start couldn’t be worse. Two wickets fell in Renuka Singh’s opening over; Amy Hunter was run out off the first ball whereas Prendergast was bowled. Those twin strikes meant that Ireland were always behind the eight ball but Gaby Lewis did her best to ensure that her side finished the PowerPlay on a decent 44/2.
But once the field spread, Shikha Pandey and Rajeshwari Gayakwad snuck in two quiet overs, conceding only 9 off the 12 balls after the PowerPlay and that came back to hurt Ireland when DLS calculations kicked in. Stranded on 54/2 after 8.2 overs, the weather didn’t quite allow Ireland to come back and make amends.
Brief Scores: India 155/6 (Mandhana 87; Prendergast 2-22) beat Ireland 54/2 in 8.2 overs (Lewis 32*; Renuka 1-10) by 5 runs via DLS method.