Heather Knight led from the front as England registered a convincing eight-wicket win over India in the second semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20.
On a slow and sluggish surface at Antigua, Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and elected to bat first but India were dismissed for 112, with Knight ending with figures of 3/9.
Smriti Mandhana and Taniya Bhatia put on a 43-run opening stand, but after that, the Indian batters struggled to get any sort of momentum.
Sophie Ecclestone got the better of Mandhana, who scored a quickfire 34 off 23 balls. Jemimah Rodrigues (26) and skipper Kaur tried to get India back on track and were batting sensibly but Rodrigues’ run out in the 14th over completely changed the game. Kaur struggled with her timing and Kirstie Gordon ended her stay at the crease for 16.
India slipped from 89/2 to be dismissed for 112. Mithali Raj has often proven to be the glue for India, which has allowed the other batters to play freely and her non-inclusion will certainly raise a lot of eyebrows.
Veda Krishnamurthy’s disappointing tournament continued as she was dismissed for 2. None of the other batters could get into double-figures.
Knight was the pick of the bowlers but she was well supported by Ecclestone (2/22) and Gordon (2/20) as England made the most of the pitch, which suited the spinners.
If India were to come back into the game, then early wickets were needed and Radha Yadav provided that as she dismissed Tammy Beaumont (1) in the second over. Daniel Wyatt didn’t last long either, with Deepti Sharma getting her for 8 but Natalie Sciver and Amy Jones played some sensible cricket to help England coast home in the end.
Both of them registered half-centuries and put together an unbeaten 92-run stand, giving India no sniff at all.
Sciver played the more aggressive innings, scoring 53 off 39 balls with five boundaries. Jones scored a fluent 52, aided by three boundaries and a maximum.
In the end, England coasted home in just 17.1 overs and set up a mouth-watering finale against Australia on Saturday.
Meanwhile, for India, it will be back to the drawing board with a lot of questions about the team’s big match temperament needing to be answered.