2nd consecutive win for India in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup
India eased to a six-wicket win against West Indies at Newlands in Cape Town to make it two wins from two in Group 2 at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Harmanpreet Kaur and Richa Ghosh combined for a decisive partnership worth 73 runs to put India within touching distance of victory, while spinner Deepti Sharma made history in the game by taking 3/15 and becoming the first Indian to reach 100 wickets in T20 internationals.
And on a tough afternoon for West Indies, they suffered both a defeat and potentially the loss of two key players, with Stafanie Taylor taken from the field on a stretcher and captain Hayley Matthews also appearing to pick up an injury. A lightning-fast start, inspired by the aggression of Shafali Verma, saw India rack up 41/2 in the Powerplay, putting them in control of a chase of 119.
Smriti Mandhana was the first wicket to fall, stumped off the bowling of Karishma Ramharack, and Jemimah Rodrigues joined her back in the pavilion after being sharply caught and bowled by Hayley Matthews
Verma’s onslaught came to an abrupt end when she was caught for 28 from 23 balls, leaving captain Kaur and Ghosh out in the middle with work still to do. And the game was paused for a lengthy and concerning treatment for West Indies veteran Stafanie Taylor, who appeared to suffer a recurrence of a back injury in the field.
The delay broke the flow of the West Indies bowlers, with the momentum swinging decisively in India’s favour upon the restart.
A classy partnership between Kaur (33 from 42) and Ghosh (44* from 32) helped India ease to victory with time to spare, and West Indies suffered another blow late in the match when captain Matthews also appeared to pick up an injury – leaving West Indies facing the prospect of playing their remaining Group 2 matches without both of their star openers.
Earlier, India’s bowling attack, inspired by the record-making Sharma, curtailed West Indies after a strong second-wicket partnership had threatened to set up a big first-innings score at Newlands. West Indies suffered a big setback when they lost Matthews at the start of the second over, with the opening batter dismissed for the fourth time in four meetings by Pooja Vastrakar.
The key wicket of Matthews was a big fillip for India’s attack, but experienced West Indies star Taylor led the recovery, back in the side at this tournament after a lengthy injury absence. Taylor and Shemaine Campbelle built a solid 50-run partnership by the mid-point of the innings, laying a platform for a potentially big score.
But Sharma struck twice in an over to first remove Campbelle (30) and then trap Taylor (42) lbw on review. And when Chinelle Henry was run out for 2 in the 15th over, West Indies were in serious danger of wasting the start by Taylor and Campbelle.
Chedean Nation and Shabika Gajnabi combined to ensure that the total was at least competitive, adding 35 runs before the latter was cleaned up by Renuka Thakur for 15 as she went for a big heave off the final ball of the penultimate over. And Sharma struck for the third time in her fourth over and the last of the innings, picking up the 100th T20I wicket of her career, becoming the first Indian international to do so in the format.
A target of 119 was always unlikely to be enough to test India’s powerful batting line-up, with Matthews admitting during the interval that the total was far below what West Indies had initially set out to reach. And so it proved, with India chasing it down to move level with England at the top of Group 2.
There is only ever one first, and Deepti Sharma will now always be the first Indian to reach 100 wickets in T20 internationals. The 25-year-old all-rounder has made quite an impact in the international game with her off-breaks and has reached the century of wickets in 89 T20I appearances for her country. Her figures of 3/15 in four overs were the pick of the returns from the Indian bowlers, and with the spinner in this sort of form India will fancy their chances of troubling anyone at the tournament.