India’s Road to Their First-Ever T20 Women’s World Cup Final
A look at India’s results in the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup that helped them reach the final for the first time ever
India have qualified for the final of the 2020 Women's T20 World Cup after their semi-final clash against England got washed out at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.
Persistent rain since morning delayed the toss and eventually the semi-final had to be called off without a ball being bowled.
The winner of the match-up was decided on the basis of the teams’ group stage performance and with India winning all four of their fixtures, Harmanpreet Kaur’s side are now through to the finale on Sunday.
After defeating defending champions Australia in the opening game, the team never looked back and registered comprehensive wins against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka to finish the group at the top.
Here’s a look at the Indian team’s performance over the last few weeks that now sees them fighting for their first-ever T20 World Cup title.
Match 1: India Beat Australia
India 132/4 (Deepti 49 not out, Shafali 29; Jess 2/24) beat Australia 115 all out (Healy 51; Poonam 4/19, Shikha 3/14) by 17 runs.
Playing defending champions Australia in their backyard and in the opening fixture of the tournament, India pulled off a big upset when they won the game by 17 runs.
Put in to bat, India struggled to a below par 132, before Poonam Yadav (4/19 in 4 overs) foxed the Aussies with her googlies, turning the match decisively into her team's favour.
Australia, who have won the competition four times in six editions, were all out for 115 in 19.5 overs.
Poonam, who missed the preceding tri-series due to a hand injury, also got good support from other bowlers including pacer Shikha Pandey. The 28-year-old from Agra was on a hat-trick but narrowly missed out as wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia dropped a difficult chance.
Match 2: India Beat Bangladesh
Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav delivered once again for the Indian team and led them to a comfortable 18-run win over Bangladesh in their second Group A game.
Invited to bat, India were off to a flying start with opener Shafali Verma (39 of 17 balls) coming out all guns blazing. However, they never got the impetuous after the departure of the 16-year-old, who hit four sixes and two fours. Later, Veda Krishnamurthy (20 off 11) hit a few lusty blows to help India post a fighting total of 142/6.
Bangladesh fought through Murshida Khatun (30) and Nigar Sultana (35) but Poonam rattled the middle and lower order with her strikes. They needed 49 runs from last five overs but failed to negotiate her flighted deliveries. The runs dried up and Bangladesh then needed 22 off the final over.
Pacer Shikha Pandey clean bowled Rumana Ahmed with a perfect yorker and India had their second win of the tournament, Bangladesh managing only 124/8.
Match 3: India Beat NZ
India 133/8 (Shafali 46; Kerr 2/21) beat New Zealand 130/6 (Kerr 34*, Shikha 1/21) by 3 runs
This was the victory that helped India qualify for the semi-final, but the match against New Zealand was also the team’s toughest in the tournament as they won by a narrow margin of just 3 runs.
Chasing India's total of 133/8, the Kiwis ended on 130/6 at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.
New Zealand had sent India into bat and the team started well as they were comfortably placed at 75/2 at the end of the first ten overs as Shafali Varma continued her swashbuckling run, and along with Taniya Bhatia put up 51-run partnership.
The 16-year-old hit a 34-ball 46, with two 4s and three 6s. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur failed again as she managed just 1. It was Radha Yadav (14 off 9) and Shikha Pandey (10 off 14) who ensured that the Indian bowlers had something to defend.
The Kiwi batsmen failed to start well and in the end, with New Zealand requiring 11 runs off the last 4 balls, it looked like a Super Over was in the offing, but the Kiwis fell short by three in the end. Deepti, Shikha, Rajeshwari, Poonam and Radha all added one wicket each to their tally.
Match 4: India Beat Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 113/9 (Athapaththu 33; Radha 4/23) lost to India 116/3 (Shafali 47; Udeshika 1/13) by 7 wickets
India maintained their unbeaten run in the tournament (that eventually also helped them qualify for the final) with a 7 wicket win over Sri Lanka in their final group game at the Junction Oval.
Radha Yadav and Shafali Verma were the star performers for India, who finished the group stage with eight points from four games.
India first restricted Sri Lanka to a below par 113/9 with left-arm spinner Radha scalping 4 wickets in her four overs, giving away just 23 runs. Spin partner Rajeshwari Gayakwad returned with figures of 2/18 while Poonam Yadav, Deepti Sharma and Shikha Pandey all scalped one wicket each.
During their chase, it was once again 16-year-old Shafali who starred with the bat. She along with Smriti Mandhana, shared a 34-run opening stand before the left-handed opener was dismissed for 17.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who has been struggling for form, promoted herself to No. 3. However, that didn't make much of a difference as she could score only 15 runs before getting out. Shafali, however, continued from the other end and kept scoring boundaries but fell just three runs short of a well-deserved fifty.
Deepti then completed the formalities along with Jemimah Rodrigues as the duo helped India chase down the target with 32 balls to spare.
Match 5: Semi-Final vs England Washed Out
India advanced to their maiden Women’s T20 World Cup final after the semi-final against England was washed out without a ball being bowled.
The heavy covers over the wicket remained in place an hour after the scheduled start at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday, when umpires gave up hope of staging an abridged contest.
India advanced because it finished ahead of England in the group stage.
There was no reserve day scheduled for the semi-finals.
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