CAPE TOWN: Captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Richa Ghosh showed grit and determination with the bat to help India clinch 6 wicket win over West Indies in the ongoing ICC Womens T20 World Cup 2023 here at Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Harmanpreet played a gritty knock of 33 while Richa scored an unbeaten 44. For West Indies, Karishma Ramharack bagged two wickets while captain Hayley Matthews and Chinelle Henry claimed one each.
Chasing 119, India got off to a lightning start, inspired by the aggression of Shafali Verma, which saw the opener hammering West Indies bowlers all around the ground. The duo of Shafali and Smriti Mandhana racked up 31 runs in just 3 overs of the play. However, 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.
Despite losing two wickets India looked in a solid position with captain Harmanpreet Kaur slamming boundaries at regular intervals.
Shafali’s onslaught came to an abrupt end when she was caught for 28 from 23 balls, leaving captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Richa Ghosh out in the middle with work still to do. But the game was paused for lengthy and concerning treatment for West Indies veteran Stafanie Taylor, who appeared to suffer a recurrence of a back injury in the field.
Harmanpreet continued the onslaught as she slammed Afy Fletcher for back-to-back two fours in the 9th over of the game.
With needing just 4 runs to win in 14 balls India lost the wicket of Harmanpreet. India captain played a gritty knock of 33 off 42 deliveries. Richa slammed a stunning winning four of Shamilia Connell’s delivery to take India home with 6 wicket victory over West Indies.
Earlier, India’s bowling attack, inspired by the record-making Deepti Sharma, curtailed West Indies after a strong second-wicket partnership threatened to set up a big first-innings score at Newlands.
West Indies suffered a big setback when they lost Hayley Matthews at the start of the second over, with the key opening batter dismissed for the fourth time in four meetings by Pooka 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.
Brief score: West Indies 118/6 (Stafanie Taylor 42, Shemaine Campbelle 30; Deepti Sharma 3-15) vs India 119/4 (Richa Ghosh 44*, Harmanpreet Kaur 33; Karishma Ramharack 2-14). (ANI)