Shafali Verma once again showed her match-winning prowess with an attractive 55 off 44 balls as India out-batted Bangladesh by 59 runs to win their fourth match and clinch a semifinal spot in the Women’s Asia Cup T20 at Sylhet on Saturday. After an indifferent batting show in the defeat to Pakistan, the ‘Women In Blue’ put up a much-improved performance, scoring 159/5 largely due to a 96-run opening stand between Shafali and stand-in skipper Smriti Mandhana (47 off 38 balls).
Credit should also go to Jemimah Rodrigues, whose 35 not out off just 24 balls helped the Indian team get to a good total. Bangladesh managed 100/7 at the end of 20 overs and never looked like being in the hunt for a victory. With eight points from five games, India are on top of the seven-team table with a match left in the round-robin stage.
Having never chased a total beyond 142 in their entire T20 history, Bangladesh did try their bit but could never force the momentum against a solid Indian bowling attack which kept things tight. After a shoddy fielding effort against Pakistan, it improved by a couple of notches on the day as there were no easy runs in store. The hosts couldn’t even score 50 in the first 10 overs and scoring more than 110 runs in the back-10 was virtually impossible for them.
None of the Indian bowlers were off target for the better part with Sneh Rana (1/17 in 3 overs) and Deepti Sharma (2/13 in 4 overs) being parsimonious as ever. Even Shafali’s loopy leg-breaks (2/10 in 4 overs) seemed unplayable.
Scores: India Women 159/5 (Shafali 55, Mandhana 47) beat Bangladesh Women 100/7 (Sultana 36, Shafali 2-10, Deepti 2-13) by 59 runs.