Team India have made it to the business end of ICC Women’s World T20, being held in West Indies.
The Indian side, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, are unbeaten in the group stages. On 17 November, they defeated Australia by 48 runs in their last Group B encounter. Before this, India had won over New Zealand, Pakistan and Ireland to confirm a place in the semi-finals.
For India, the batters have been in sublime form, which has ensured its winning streak. And the great news for the Indian camp is that the big three – veteran Mithali Raj, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Vice-Captain Smriti Mandhana have been in form through the tournament.
Among the bowlers, the Indian spinners have done a great job, especially in the match against Australia. Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav have successfully choked the opposition batters and taken wickets, which has given India an all-round advantage.
Since the 2010 edition, this is the first time that India have qualified for semi-finals. Here’s a look at the top five performance that have helped India break the eight-year-old jinx.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s 103 vs New Zealand
The Captain set the ball rolling for the side in India’s first match of the tournament.
After losing both their openers early, India were in a spot of bother. But Harmanpreet Kaur not only rescued her side, but also mounted a counter-attack. The skipper smashed a 51-ball 103 to become the first Indian woman to hit the World T20 century.
She hit 8 sixes in the innings, equaling the second-most in a women’s T20I innings. Harmanpreet had a strike-rate of 201.96 in the innings, the third-highest in an innings of 50 or more runs in the Women’s World T20.
Her performance helped India post 191 and India eventually won the match by 34 runs.
Mithali Raj’s 56 vs Pakistan
After missing an opportunity to bat in the first match against New Zealand due to the change in the batting order, Mithali Raj was back against Pakistan in the second match of the World T20.
Raj’s innings of 47-ball 56 helped India register a comfortable seven-wicket win against their arch-rival. At a strike rate of 119.14, her innings included seven fours, showcasing maturity from the veteran.
Raj was watchful at the start of her innings and didn’t take any unnecessary risks. After settling in, the senior-most member of the squad showed her class to take India closer to victory. Raj was dismissed eight runs away from victory, but she had done her job by then.
Mithali Raj’s 51 vs Ireland
On a tricky wicket at Providence in Guyana, where run-making wasn’t that easy, Mithali Raj’s maturity and experienced came in handy as she made a valuable 51.
The innings may have been on a slower side, in comparison to modern-day T20 cricket, but that is what the situation had demanded: A steady innings that would take India to a respectable total.
Raj’s 51 came off 56 balls and included 4 fours and a solitary six. Raj anchored India’s innings till the 19th over and helped India post 145 on board, which was a tad too much for the Irish cricketers, who could only get 93 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in their allotted 20 overs. The win helped India book a place in the semi-finals.
Smriti Mandhana’s 83 vs Australia
After getting a start in her last two innings, Indian opener Smriti Mandhana finally came into her element against Australia in the final group encounter.
A 55-ball 83 from Mandhana at a strike of 150 saw the Australians at the end of their wits. Her innings included nine fours and three sixes.
Mandhana, who is known for her stroke-play, was aided by hapless bowling from the opposition. Despite the early loss of Taniya Bhatia, Mandhana continued her assault with the bat as she stepped down the pitch and used her crease to make her start count.
During the innings, Mandhana became the second-fastest Indian batter, after Mithali Raj, to 1000 T20 international runs, as she continued the momentum despite wickets falling on the other end.
Mandhana’s 83 saw India to a total of 167/8 as she got dismissed in the 19th over.
Radha Yadav’s 2/13 vs Australia
If Smriti Mandhana’s 83 left the Aussies gasping for breath, it was Radha Yadav with the bowling that choked them.
Radha bowled her quota of four overs to give away only 13 runs at the rate of 3.25 runs per over. If a stingy spell wasn’t enough, she also bagged the important wicket of Australian skipper Meg Lanning and Delissa Kimmince. She bowled 12 dot balls during her spell.
To deny the Australians any pace, Radha also bowled from several yards behind the crease to make the rivals slower.
With seven wickets to her name in the tournament, the Baroda all-rounder is India’s second-most successful bowler in the competition.