Mithali Raj slammed her 17th fifty as India continued their magnificent form in the ICC Women’s World T20 encounter with a 52-run win over Ireland at Providence, Guyana to enter the semi-final.
With this result, India join Australia as the other team to have entered the last four. The win also knocked New Zealand and Pakistan out. This was the first time since 2010 that India had reached the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20. Incidentally, in 2010, the tournament was played in the West Indies.
Ireland chose to bowl but they were immediately put under pressure by Mithali and Smriti Mandhana. Both batters displayed their class, with Mithali hitting a six off Eimar Richarson in the fifth over followed by two boundaries off Lara Maritz in the sixth over. Mandhana also gained confidence as she blasted a six off legspinner Celeste Raack. Their 67-run opening partnership laid the base for a solid total, with Mithali proving to be the pivot around which the entire Indian innings progressed. A quick 40-run stand with Jemimah Rodrigues got India past 100.
Harmanpreet Kaur (7) got going with a six off Richardson but the Indian skipper departed in the process of quick runs. Mithali notched up her fifty off 54 balls as India reached 145/6.
In response, Ireland started steadily and made good progress in the powerplay. However, in the sixth over, Deepti Sharma struck with her first ball by removing Gaby Lewis (9). Poonam Yadav piled the pressure on Ireland by removing Clare Shillington (23) and immediately, Ireland were behind the asking rate.
For the next five overs, India’s bowlers did not concede a single boundary as they choked the Irish batters for runs. Isobel Joyce struck a couple of boundaries to keep Ireland in the hunt but once she was removed by Harmanpreet for 33, the game was India’s. Yadav, the slow left-arm orthodox bowler, returned with figures of 3/25 while Deepti Sharma picked up 2/15. The likes of Harmanpreet and Poonam Yadav had an economy rate of under three and this helped India reach the semi-final.
India’s final league game will be a top of the table clash against Australia on Saturday. In the other game of the day, New Zealand bundled Pakistan out for 90 to win by 54 runs but it was scant consolation for them as they failed to reach the semis.