The Indian women’s team held their nerves to register a 3 runs win over New Zealand in their third Group A match played at Junction Oval, Melbourne on Thursday.
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine won the toss and decided to field first. Smriti Mandhana who missed the last match played some lovely strokes before being bowled by Tahuhu. Taniya Bhatia who was promoted to number 3 looked in decent touch. Shafali Verma continued her superb form with attacking stroke play and made life tough for White Ferns bowlers. At the end of six overs, India 49 for 1.
After the power play overs, Verma was dropped by Maddy Green. Mair struck for White Ferns as she dismissed Bhatia. Bhatia and Verma added 51 runs for the 2nd wicket. Verma was dropped the 2nd time by Tahuhu. Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur went in quick succession. In attempt to hit another big shot, Verma was dismissed for 46 by Kerr. Veda Krishna Murthy was given not out by the umpire and on review the decision was overturned to out. Radha Yadav and Shikha Pandey added 22 vital runs which helped India post 133 for 8 in 20 overs.
Chasing 134 runs to win, Rachael Priest took the attack to Deepti Sharma in the first over taking her for 12 runs. Shikha Pandey got the breakthrough dismissing Priest. The experienced duo of Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine struggled against Indian spinners. Deepti Sharma got the big wicket of Bates to put the White Ferns under pressure. At the end of six overs, New Zealand were 30 for 2.
After the power play overs, Poonam Yadav got the big wicket of Sophie Devine to put New Zealand under pressure. Maddy Green and Katie Martin struggled against the Indian spinners but played some lovely strokes which made the Indian captain think. Rajeshwari Gayakwad got the big wicket of Maddy Green to break 43 runs stand for 4th wicket. Radha Yadav dismissed Katie Martin to put pressure on White Ferns batting line up. Amelia Kerr came to the crease and stepped on the gas scoring 18 runs off Poonam Yadav over in the 19th over which ensured 16 runs required off final over.
In the final over, Jensen hit a boundary off the first ball. Shikha Pandey came back strongly to give 3 runs off next 3 balls. Kerr then hit a boundary to make the equation to 5 off 1 ball. Pandey nailed the yorker and helped India register thrilling 3 runs win as Jensen was run out.
Indian women 133 for 8 in 20 overs ( Shafali Verma 46, Bhatia 23, Mair 2/27, Kerr 2/21) beat New Zealand women 130 for 6 in 20 overs ( Kerr 34*, Katie Martin 25, Gayakwad 1/22, Shikha Pandey 1/21) by 4 runs.
With this win, Indian women became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals stage with 6 points from 3 games. They play their last group game on 29th against Sri Lanka.