India seal semifinal berth with win over Ireland

Wednesday 22nd February 2023 05:19 EST

India achieved their primary objective of making the semifinals of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, but they didn’t manage to tick all the required boxes and as a result, wouldn’t be going into the semifinals with the confidence of all bases covered.
The rain and strong gusts forced the umpires to take the players off the field, with Ireland 54/2 in 8.2 overs in pursuit of 156. The Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) par score was 59 at that stage, and as the match was subsequently abandoned, India emerged victorious by five runs. The underdogs, who had lost their previous three games in the competition, needed a further 102 runs in 70 balls. India would still have been favourites, but may have had to endure some anxious moments if the partnership between Gaby Lewis and skipper Laura Delany continued for a few more overs.
That the Indians had the upper hand was due to the disparity in fielding. If the Irish were a bit more agile and athletic on the field, it’s not inconceivable that they might have had their noses in front when the contest came to a premature end.
The difference between the two teams came to the fore on the first ball of the chase itself. Amy Hunter guided Renuka Thakur’s delivery just past the circle on the off side. There was an easy single on offer, but the two openers decided on a risky second.
Jemimah Rodrigues sprinted towards the ball, had a quick pick-up and had a decent throw towards wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh. The slight hesitation between Hunter and her batting partner Gaby Lewis, meant the former was well short of the crease when the bails were dislodged. The Indian fielding contributed an early wicket, and Thakur bowled Orla Prendergast to reduce Ireland to 1 for 2 in the first over itself.
On the other hand, the Irish fielders were so sloppy that Smriti Mandhana wouldn’t have believed her luck. The left-hander was dropped on more than one occasion, while the leaden-footed Irish girls failed to reach her various mishits in time. The left-handed opener’s 87 off 56 balls was the fulcrum of India’s batting effort of 155/6 as almost all the other batters struggled to score at a run a ball. It was only due to a vital cameo by Jemimah at the end, after designated finisher Richa got out without troubling the scorers, which took India to their eventual score. She improvised to hit two boundaries in the 20th over which, in hindsight, could have been the difference between an Indian win and a major upset.

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