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India advance to women’s T20 World Cup final after semifinal against England washed out

By PTI Updated: Mar 06, 2020 12:47 am

Sydney, March 5 (PTI): An unbeaten run in the group stage propelled India into their maiden Women’s T20 World Cup final after their last-four clash against England was washed out here on Thursday, prompting both captains to say that reserve days are essential for knockout clashes.

Persistent rain since morning delayed the toss and eventually the semifinal was called off without a ball being bowled, taking Indians into the summit clash and leaving England players in tears.

“Really frustrating. Not how we wanted the World Cup to finish for us. No reserve day, no chance of getting play, and ultimately that loss against South Africa cost us,” a dejected England captain Heather Knight said after the game was abandoned.

Her India counterpart Harmanpreet Kaur also agreed that the semifinals should have had a reserve day, a request which was made by host Cricket Australia but turned down by the ICC.

“Unfortunate we didn’t get a game, but there are rules and we have to follow it. Having reserve days in the future will be a great idea,” said Kaur.

Knight said her team paid the price for not starting the tournament well.

“It’s all very English isn’t it, talking about the weather and getting knocked out. It felt that we gained a bit of momentum in the last few games and we were pumped up for the semifinals,” she added.

“Lessons are to win the first game I guess (laughs). It’s become a trend, not to start well in tournaments, and that has cost us.”

India had topped Group A with four victories in as many matches while England had finished second in Group B with three wins and a defeat.

“From day one, we new we have to win all the games because in case the semis don’t happen, that would be hard for us. In that sense, credit to the team for winning all the games,” said Kaur.

“Everybody is looking in great touch – Shafali (Verma) and Smriti (Mandhana). They are giving us good starts, and that helps. Me and Smriti are trying to spend more time in the nets,” she added reflecting on her and Mandhana’s so far indifferent form.

“We are looking more positive now. Unfortunately we haven’t come up with big innings, but our teammates are, and at the end of the day it’s a team game.”

England had ended runners-up in the previous edition.

In the earlier seven editions, India had never reached the final but this time, they have emerged as serious title contenders after a string of superlative performances.

They began with a win over defending champions Australia and went from strength to strength after that, beating Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka to top group A with eight points from four matches.

If the second semifinal between South Africa and reigning champions Australia is also washed out then the Proteas will advance to the summit clash since they topped their group.

Proud of you: Kohli congratulates women’s team

India’s men’s team skipper Virat Kohli congratulated the Harmanpreet Kaur-led women’s side for reaching its maiden final of the T20 World Cup in Australia, saying the outfit’s performance is something to be “proud” of.

The Indian women’s team advanced to the the summit clash owing to a superior group stage record, after the semifinal clash against England was abandoned without a ball being bowled at the Sydney Cricket Ground due to persistent rain.

“Congratulations to the Indian Women’s team on qualifying for the @T20WorldCup final. We are proud of you girls and wish you all the luck for the finals,” Kohli tweeted.

Former India opener Virender Sehwag also took to Twitter to wish the Indian side luck for the final which is scheduled to be played in Melbourne on Sunday.

“…A reward for winning all the matches in the group stage. Congratulations @BCCIWomen and wishing you glory this Sunday #T20WorldCup,” Sehwag said.

Former India Test specialist VVS Laxman hailed the side for its unbeaten record in the tournament so far.

“Would have been great to see the match, but many congratulations to @BCCIWomen for making it to the finals of the #T20WorldCup . A reward for winning 4 out of 4 in the group stages. Wishing the girls the very best for the finals on #WomensDay”

India have been in red-hot form in the tournament winning all four of their group A matches.

They began with a win over defending champions Australia followed by victories against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka to top group A with eight points from four matches.

The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will take on the winner of the second semifinal between hosts Australia and South Africa in the summit clash.

Australia’s Alyssa Healy hits the ball to the boundary while batting during the Women’s T20 World Cup cricket semifinal match between South Africa and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia on Thursday.

Australia vs India in Women’s T20 World Cup final

Four-time champions Australia used their rich big-match experience to surpass a spirited South Africa by five runs in a rain-hit semifinal here on Thursday, setting up a title clash against first-timers India.

There were fears that the second semifinal between Australia and South Africa at the SCG too will be washed out like the India and England match earlier in the day. But the weather improved just enough to get a game albeit a curtailed one.

Australia skipper Meg Lanning led from the front with unbeaten 49 off as many balls to take her team to 134 for five in 20 overs. Rain returned during the innings break and South Africa were set a revised target of 98 runs in 13 overs as per the D/L method.

South Africa ended at 92 for five despite a fighting 41 not out off 27 balls from Laura Wolvaardt, leaving them dejected.

South Africa were reeling at 24 for three before Wolvaardt and Sune Luus (21) brought them back in the game with a quickfire 47-run stand.

In the end, Wolvaardt, who smashed three sixes and two fours, had too much to do on her own.

Hosts Australia, who did not have the services of injured star all-rounder Elysse Perry, were ecstatic after Jess Jonassen was able to defend 19 runs in the final over with South Africa getting only 13.

With the win, Australia advanced to their sixth successive final out of the seven editions held so far.

“It was extremely tense. Even in the last couple of balls it just wasn’t safe. They needed 19 off the last over and we knew we had to nail it. But that’s T20 cricket for you; I was extremely nervous,” said skipper Lanning.

On the final against India, she added: “India are a class side, they have been playing excellent cricket. We are going to have to play really well. We have been improving each day, it hasn’t been an easy road.

“We wanted to give ourselves a chance of playing in the finals, and now we just need to enjoy ourselves. We are travelling to Melbourne tomorrow, train on Saturday and play on Sunday. I doubt there’d be much sleep happening tonight.”

South Africa skipper Dane van Niekerk said her team tried its best.

“…we have to give credit to Australia for the way they bowled and we just came six short. We brought them back with the ball really well, they got off to a flier and we thought they’d get to 160.

“All the bowlers did really well, and credit to them for how they brought it back. It was very emotional to see the ladies like that.

“To come short every time is difficult , and we aren’t a team that blames anything or anyone; but unfortunately it just wasn’t our year and it wasn’t our day,” she said.

By PTI Updated: Mar 06, 2020 12:47:55 am