India edged out New Zealand by three runs in a thrilling finish to their Women’s T20 World Cup clash in Canberra, a crucial win that helped secure their spot in the semi-finals.
India’s 16-year-old opener Shafali Verma impressed, top-scoring with 46 from 34 balls – striking four fours and three sixes – but the middle-order faltered and they ultimately stumbled their way to a score of 133-8 from their 20 overs.
That score still looked to be plenty as New Zealand slipped to 34-3 in the ninth over of their reply, with dangerous top-order trio Sophie Devine (14), Rachel Preist (12) and Suzie Bates (6) all dismissed cheaply.
But, Mady Green (24) and Katey Martin (25) rallied the innings, setting up a late Amelia Kerr (34no off 19) counter-attack, with the allrounder taking the game right down to the wire.
Kerr smashed six boundaries, four of them coming in Poonam Yadav’s penultimate over, to see New Zealand needing 16 from the final over for a stunning comeback win.
Hayley Jensen got Shikha Pandey’s first ball away for four, while Kerr scooped another to the boundary off the second-to-last ball. But, needing four more off the last to set-up a Super Over, Jensen (11) was run out and India held on.
With three wins from three, India top Group A and their semi-final spot was secured by Australia’s win over Bangladesh later on Thursday.
Even with defeat to Sri Lanka in their final group game on Saturday, India would progress, while New Zealand – who face Bangladesh on the same day – need to beat the Tigers and then Australia in a mouth-watering match-up on Monday to qualify in the top two.
Australia put themselves in the driving seat for a semi-final spot as they beat Bangladesh by 86 runs in Melbourne, moving up to second in Group A with two wins from three.
Alyssa Healy (83 off 53) and Beth Mooney (81no off 58) were the stars of the show, sharing in a 151-run opening partnership, while Ashleigh Gardner later came in and blasted 22 from nine balls as Australia posted a massive score of 189-1.
It proved too much for Bangladesh, who battled admirably to a total of 103-9 – Fargana Hoque top-scoring with 36 – but fell some way short as they slipped to a second-straight defeat.
Australian pace bowler Megan Schutt impressed, taking 3-21, while slow-left-armer Jess Jonassen pitched in with 2-17, the second of which was the first wicket of a final-over team hat-trick as two run-outs of Bangladesh tailenders followed.
Live coverage of the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup continues on Sky Sports, with England Women next in action against Pakistan Women at 7.30am on Friday.