A strong knock by Smriti Mandhana and tight bowling by Sneh Rana helped the Indian women’s cricket team make history and confirm a medal in their first-ever outing at the Commonwealth Games as they clinched a thrilling 4-run win over England in the semifinal.
India put up a total of 164/5 in their 20 overs. Batters Smriti Mandhana (61) and Jemimah Rodrigues (44*) were the top scorers for India. Freya Kemp was the pick of the bowlers with 2/22. Chasing 165, England looked in contention to win the match. A great 54-run stand between skipper Nat Sciver (41) and Amy Jones (31) threatened to take away the match from Women in Blue. However, India managed to hold their nerves and defended 14 runs in the final over to win the match by four runs.
Opting to bat first, openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma gave India a great start. Verma was the less aggressive of the two. Mandhana, on the other hand, was sending the ball to the boundary frequently. Freya Kemp gave England the breakthrough and broke the 76-run stand by dismissing Verma for 15 off 17 balls. Mandhana had brought up her half-century and was dismissed just moments after her partner. She fell to Nat Sciver, the English skipper for a quickfire 61 off 32 balls with eight fours and three sixes.
Jemimah Rodrigues was next up on crease. She built a 29-run stand with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (20) and a 53-run stand with Deepti Sharma (22). Kamp got her second wicket of the match by dismissing Kaur while Katherine Brunt removed Deepti. Pooja Vastrakar fell for a duck due to an unfortunate run-out. Rodrigues (44*) off 31 balls took India to 164/5 at the end of their 20 overs. Kemp was the pick of the bowlers for England, taking 2/22. Sciver and Brunt took one each.
England was off to a shaky start. Deepti Sharma removed Sophia Dunkley for just 19 off 10 balls when the team was at 28 runs. Danielle Wyatt and Alice Caspey attempted to rebuild the innings but their stand was broken after Caspey was run out for just 13 runs. Wyatt was bowled by Sneh Rana for 35 off 27, leaving England at 81/3.
Captain Sciver and wicketkeeper Amy Jones then went on to stitch a 54-run stand which swung back things a little in favour of the hosts. Jones was run out for 31 and Sciver also faced the same fate after a while, leaving England at 151/5 in 18.5 overs.
Team India needed to defend 14 runs in the last over. Rana managed to hold her nerves and defended these last few runs as she bowled to Maia Bouchier with Sophie Ecclestone at the other end. India were able to restrict England to 160/6 in 20 overs, winning the match by four runs.
Rana was the pick of the bowlers with 2/28. Deepti Sharma also took a wicket.
Brief Scores: India: 164/5 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 61, Jemimah Rodrigues 44*, Freya Kemp 2/22) won against England: 160/6 in 20 overs (Natalie Sciver 41, Amy Jones 31, Sneh Rana 2/28).