Smriti Mandana’s career best 87 run helped team India to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s T20 World cup on Monday. India registered a five-run victory over Ireland, via DLS method due to a rain-affected match at St George’s Park in Gqebera.
Ireland was targeting a score of 157 runs and scored 57 for 2 in 8.2 overs when rain stopped the match for an hour making a way for India to move forward in the tournament.
With the said victory India gained six points from four games and finished the group stage. England currently are at better net run rate with six points from 3 games and India is in the second position in Group B. England will face Pakistan on Tuesday in their final group game which will decide the final positioning of the group. India will have to play Australia in the semi-finals if they finish second in the group standings.
India scored 155 for 6 in their 20 overs with the help of Mandana who scored 87 runs from 56 balls and Shafali Verma who scored 24 off 29 balls.
Ireland’s start was disastrous as they lost 2 wickets in the first over itself which was bowled by in-form pacer Renuka Thakur Singh. The opener Amy Hunter lost her wicket as she was run out of the 1st ball while chasing for the second one. After four balls Renuka was able to clean bowl Orla Prendergast and at this point Ireland was 1 for 2 in 0.5 overs.
To bring back Ireland’s position in the match Gaby Lewis scored 32 not out for 25 and Laura Delany scored 17 off 20 balls adding a valuable 50 to the score.
While Ireland needed 102 runs in 70 balls and were 5 runs behind for Duckworth-Lewis-Stern par score of 59.
India opted to bat first with the opening team of Mandhana and Shafali scoring 62 runs in just under 10 overs. But, Shafali was caught by Amy hunter off the bowling of captain Delany, who entered as a bowler after the other failed to gain any wicket.
Mandhana was joined by Harmanpreet in the middle and bonded to a great partnership. Mandhana maintained her strike rate and scored a classy fifty , hitting leg-spinner Cara Murray for a six over deep mid-wicket.
Mandhana survived a missed catch by Arlene Kelly for a tossed up delivery from Murray toward mid-wicket just before scoring 50. Afterwards there were two continuous fours on Georgina Dempsey balls and sent Delany for a cow corner for another maximum.
Ireland though was back with the wickets of Harmanpreet and Richa Ghosh but Mandhana managed to hit two more boundaries on Kelly’s ball. India was at 150 because of Mandhana’s fours and sixes.
Mandhana could have scored a century but her innings came to an end when she lifted the ball straight to the long-off fielder and missed out on a hundred. It was hatrick for Prendergast as she sent Mandhana to the pavilion then Deepti shama departed in the next ball and after a couple of runs it was Pooja Vastrakar.
Jamimah Rodrigues was the one to strike two fours in the final over before the last ball of the India innings for a 12 for 19 balls.
This is India’s third successive semifinal appearance, one was in 2018 and other as a runner up finish in 2020.