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ICC Womens T20 WC: Young Shefali Verma shines again as India hold late NZ surge, seal spot in SF

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Highlights

  • The Women in Blue are now the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. 
  • 16-year-old Verma continued her good start in the tournament as she scored 46 runs in 34 balls, striking at 135.29.
  • Shikha Pandey held her nerves as she defended 16 runs in the last over, to send India in the semi-finals for the second consecutive year.

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The Indian Women’s Cricket team won a low-scoring close encounter against New Zealand Women on Thursday. The Women in Blue are now the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup

Harmanpreet Kaur and co were put to bat first by New Zealand on an overcast day at the Junction Oval in Melbourne. Shifali Verma and Smriti Mandhana opened the innings. However, Smriti fell within the third over of the innings. 

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On the other end, 16-year-old Verma continued her good start in the tournament as she scored 46 runs in 34 balls, striking at 135.29. Verma and wicket-keeper batsman Taniya Bhatia pushed India to 70 in the first 10 overs. 

Bhatia, however, departed after cutting straight to Amelia Kerr at Backward point. New Zealand bowlers then picked Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet and Verma in three consecutive overs, to gain a strong foothold in the game. 

Also, Read: NZ vs IND 2nd Test Dream11 Prediction | India vs New Zealand 2020

However, tailenders Shikha Pandey (10 of 14) and Radha Yadav (14 off 9) pushed India to 133. Having defended 132 and 142 against Australia and Bangladesh respectively, the Indian bowlers started with beaming confidence. Pandey picked Racheal Priest in the second over before Deepti Sharma bowled the dangerous Suzie Bates. 

The ‘White Ferns’ kept losing wickets on a regular basis as Indian bowlers suffocated them to 5 for 90 in the 16th over. However, Kerr faced the Indian bowlers fearlessly. With 34 required in the last two overs, Kerr took on the challenge and hit 18 runs off Poonam Yadav in the 19th over. 

Shikha Pandey then held her nerves in the final ball after 11 in the first five balls. Kerr needed a six off the final delivery for a win, or a four for a super over. However, Pandey nailed her yorker, as India won by 4 runs. 

Indian women have reached their second consecutive semi-finals. In 2018, the Indian team went on a similar run, winning all of their group stage games, before losing to English women in the finals. Harmanpreet, now, will be able to rest a few players in the game against Sri Lanka. However, India will have to wait before they learn their semifinals opponents. 

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Manan Dharamshi
I usually describe myself with three 'F's, i.e, Food, Football and Films. Born and Brought up in Bangalore since the mid-1990s, I have always had a huge interest in playing football, cricket and watching other sports. People who know me always tell I bleed football. Sports, and Football, in particular, has helped me through hard times and helped me to shape my view on the world. And that is one of the reasons why I want to serve as a Sports Journalist.

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