In the thirteenth match of the tournament, India beat Ireland by a comfortable margin of 52 runs to book their place in the semi-finals of the World T20.
It was India’s bowlers and fielders who made life easier for captain Harmanpreet Kaur as they restricted Ireland to 93/8 from their 20 overs.
In pursuit of 146; Irish openers started off cautiously, scoring 27 runs in five overs before Deepti Sharma opened her account in her first over. Irish batters never looked comfortable out there, the slow nature of the wicket didn’t help either. Ireland’s next wicket fell in the ninth over when opener Clare Shillington (23 off 23) got stumped on Poonam Yadav’s delivery.
At the halfway stage, Ireland required 103 from 60 with 8 wickets in hand but in the end it was way too much to ask for. Apart from Shillington and Isobel Joyce (33 off 38) no batter crossed double-figures. For India, Radha Yadav took 3 for 25 and Deepti Sharma took 2 for 15.
Earlier, Laura Delany won the toss and chose to field first. Due to the overcast conditions before the start of play and a damp outfield, the decision was spot on. Apart from Smriti Mandhana (33) and Mithali Raj’s (31) opening stand of 67 runs and a quickfire (40 off 28) second wicket partnership between Raj and Jemimah Rodrigues, it was flat batting display by the Indians.
Even the first match centurion, Kaur failed to provide the launching pad the Indian innings badly needed. In the end, player of the match Mithali Raj’s almost run a ball fifty proved to be enough to stretch India’s total to 145/6.
Irish bowlers did a fantastic job, given they were up against a decent batting line-up. Kim Garth took 2 for 22 while Delany, Richardson and OReilley shared one wicket each.
India will have to come out all guns blazing against Australia on Saturday (November 17) which will also be the last group match for both teams and the winner of the game would top group B.
India would be hoping Mithali Raj who suffered a knee injury during their game against Ireland would be fully fit in time to play against Australia and in the semi-final as well.