Indian bowlers continued their fine form of runs in the T20 World Cup and beat New Zealand in a thrilling contest to cement a semi-final berth. This was their third straight win in the tournament and they now sit at the top of their Group A with 6 points from 3 matches.
India managed to put just 133 on the scoreboard as once again their batting didn’t quite click. But their bowlers, spinners in particular, helped defend the total. Amelia Kerr batted brilliantly to bring the win equation down to five runs off the last delivery with but New Zealand suffered a four-run defeat. Here we take a look at the top five talking points from the game.
#5 Shafali Verma shines again
India opener Smriti Mandhana, who returned to the playing XI after missing the match against Bangladesh due to fever, failed to deliver. She hit two boundaries before being removed in the third over by Lea Tahuhu. It was then that Verma took the onus on herself. Her 34-ball 46 was laced with four fours and three sixes, but it is pertinent to mention that Verma was twice put down by New Zealand at long-on and then midwicket.
#4 Amelia Kerr’s fightback
The youngest in the New Zealand team showed the most maturity on a day the team needed it the most. The 19-year-old showed great composure under pressure to score a 19-ball 34 and bring the game down to five runs needed off the last one. She took 18 runs off Poonam Yadav in the 19th over, and almost took away the game from India, before Shikha Pandey returned to complete her spell and brought the situation in control.
#3 A combined bowling effort from India
All the five bowlers picked up one wicket each to ensure that India’s sub-par total did not cost them the all-important game. Shikha Pandey and Rajeshwari Gayakwad finished with the best economy of 5.25 and 5.50 respectively. In their tight bowling performance, India gave a solitary extra run – a wide delivery by Yadav. India’s miserly economy kept increasing the required run-rate for the Kiwis.
#2 Taniya Bhatia stabilises the ship
India’s middle-order has collapsed in all the three games so far. Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, and Jemimah Rodrigues scored only 30 runs combined, and the only middle-order batter who contributed was Taniya Bhatia. Although her innings was slow paced – 25-ball 23 – it served as a backbone for Verma, who went all guns blazing. Bhatia's innings ended with a square cut off Rosemary Mair that went straight into Kerr’s hands.
#1 Radha Yadav’s all-round show
Radha Yadav, who was playing her first game in the tournament, contributed in all the three departments. She finished with figures of 1 for 25 and scored nine-ball 14 with the bat, while also stopping crucial runs with her athletic fielding. While batting at No. 9, Yadav’s 14 runs helped India go past 130 runs. The 19-year-old spin bowler from Mumbai, who is yet to make her ODI debut, has played 33 T20Is for India from which she has 47 runs and 44 wickets.