April 15, 2023

Recent Match Report – IND WMN vs IRE WMN 18th Match, Group 2 2022/23

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India 155 for 6 (Mandhana 87, Delany 3-33, Prendergast 2-22) beat Ireland 54 for 2 (Lewis 32*, Renuka 1-10) by five runs via DLS method

India advanced to the semi-final of the Women’s T20 World Cup with a five-run win over Ireland in their final group game, which was affected by rain in Gqeberha. India opener Smriti Mandhana’s 87 guided them to 155 for 6 after Harmanpreet Kaur opted to bat.

The match was abandoned due to rain after it was halted at 8.2 overs when Ireland were 54 for 2, five runs behind the DLS par-score of 59. Ireland, thereby, have ended their T20 World Cup campaign with four defeats in as many matches while India, with three victories from four matches, have qualified for the knockouts along with England.

Unless England lose to Pakistan in their final league game, India will play Australia in the first semi-final.

Mandhana notches career-best T20I score

Mandhana notched up her best T20I score of 87 in windy conditions, albeit with several missed chances. Along with Shafali Verma, she stitched a 62-run partnership for the opening wicket, but it was not in the smoothest manner. Both Mandhana and Shafali looked to go big in the initial overs, with the latter particularly struggling to middle the ball. Shafali’s stay was cut short by Ireland captain Laura Delany when she was caught at deep square leg for a 29-ball 24.

Harmanpreet, who came in at No.3 instead of Jemimah Rodrigues, couldn’t shift gears in testing conditions and eventually fell for 13 off 20 balls when she tried to go against the wind over deep midwicket. Orla Prendergast, the fielder, took an excellent catch to bring Ireland into the game.

Mandhana, on the other hand, despite having a scratchy start to her innings – in which she was dropped on 29, 31, 46 and 70 – changed her approach after racing to her 22nd T20I fifty from 40 balls. Getting the timing right while looking to clear the boundary by hitting with the wind worked as she smashed four fours and two sixes in 16 balls after the half-century.

From 63 for 1 after ten overs, India put on 92 runs in the final ten, with 50 of those runs coming in the last five overs. However, Ireland fought back at the death with five wickets, including two two-wicket overs each from Prendergast and Delany. Like Mandhana, they also tweaked their approach, with change of pace and lengths to exert pressure.

Rodrigues, at three-down, chipped in with a quickfire 19 to lift the team to the highest total at St George’s Park for a women’s international game.

For Ireland, Delany was their best bowler in terms of wickets, with three scalps for 33 and Prendergast finished with figures of 2 for 22.

Wind, rain and an Ireland chase

Throughout the game, players were tested on their ability to play with and against the wind before the rain took over. Ireland, chasing 156, were under pressure straightaway after losing two wickets in the first over of the innings. The first delivery saw Amy Hunter being run-out when she hesitated to take the second run and Rodrigues, the cover fielder, fired in a throw at the striker’s end to effect an easy dismissal. Four balls later, Renuka Singh bowled Prendergast, Ireland’s top scorer in their previous match against West Indies, out for duck.

However, the two early wickets did not derail Gaby Lewis and Delany as the duo started finding boundaries against both pace and spin. Lewis remained unbeaten on 32 off 25 before the rain halted the game.

Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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