Clinical India outshines NZ to march into Women's World Cup semis
Derby: The Indian women's cricket team thrashed New Zealand by 186 runs to storm into the semi-finals of the ongoing Women's World Cup at the County Ground here on Saturday.
Skipper Mithali Raj's scintillating century set the tone as India posted a healthy 265/7 before left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad's maiden fifer (5/15) bundled out the White Ferns for a paltry 79.
The New Zealanders found themselves three-down in the 11th over and after a brief, ineffective resistance from Amy Satterthwaite and Sophie Devine, they crumbled under pressure.
India have now joined Australia, England and South Africa as the four semi-finalists of this year's World Cup.
Earlier, put into bat, Mithali (109 off 123 balls, 11*4) helped resurrect India’s innings with two century stands — first a 132-run third wicket partnership with Harmanpreet Kaur (60 off 90, 7*4) and then joined forces with Veda Krishnamurthy (70 off 45, 7*4, 2*6) to add 108 runs — at the County Ground here.
India were off to a disastrous start, losing the early wickets of Smriti Mandana (13) and Punam Raut (4) to find themselves tottering at a precarious 21/2 by the eighth over.
Mithali, who on Saturday became the first Indian batswoman to notch 1000 World Cup runs, batted cautiously to steady the ship along with all-rounder Harmanpreet as the New Zealand bowlers kept testing the Indians with some tight line and length.
The 34-year-old Mithali, already the highest run-getter in the 50-over format, got to her sixth One-Day International (ODI) ton off 116 balls when she drove Leigh Kasperek between long-on and deep midwicket.
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India capitalised the poor start in the middle overs, milking 16-year-old leg-spinner Amelia Kerr for 64 runs besides skipper Suzie Bates leaking 59 from her 8 overs.
Veda’s innings towards the end was what India missed in the previous match against the Australians on Wednesday, as the right-hander gave the innings the much-needed acceleration, which included two towering sixes.
The final over, however, witnessed a quick fall of wickets with Mithali, Veda and Shikha Pandey (0) going one after the other as India finished at 265/7.
For the White Ferns, Kasperek was the pick of the bowlers grabbing 3/45 while Hannah Rowe took 2/30 and Lea Tahuhu contributed with the wicket of opener Punam.
With IANS inputs