Smriti Mandhana, Sneh Rana Shine as India Beat England by 4 Runs to Reach Final

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Indian women’s cricket team held their nerves and managed to beat England by four runs to enter the final of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. In a thrilling semifinal clash, England needed 14 runs from the final over but Sneh Rana got the job done for the visitors and helped them assure at least a silver in Birmingham. In reply to India’s 164/5, the hosts managed to score 160/6 in 20 overs.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur made a brave call by preferring Rana over in-form Renuka Singh to bowl the tough overs and the off-spinner didn’t disappoint her captain a bit. In the 18th over, Rana gave just three runs which shifted the momentum completely in India’s favour. All-rounder Pooja Vastrakar also did a decent job in the penultimate over as England lost the crucial wicket of their skipper Natalie Sciver through run out as pressure was mounting on the hosts to score quick runs.

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India got penalised for slow overrate and were allowed to keep only three fielders outside the circle in the last over and Harmanpreet decided to pull all three of them on the leg-side. Rana was too good for England’s lower middle-order batters and she also dismissed Katherine Brunt to pin the hosts down in the 20th over.

Smriti Mandhana’s elegant yet brutal knock of 61 along with Jemimah Rodrigues’ useful 44 not out powered India to a healthy 164 for 5.

Mandhana’s 32-ball assault in the Powerplay laid the platform while Rodrigues, who is finally doing justice to her enormous potential, improvised well during his 31-ball unbeaten stay at the crease.

En route her knock, Mandhana also recorded the fastest T20 International fifty in women’s cricket off only 23 balls.

A new and improved Deepti Sharma chipped in with 22 off 20 balls but India might think they ended 15 runs short of the par-score after 64 runs came in the six Powerplay overs.

The next 14 overs yielded 100 runs as India lost the momentum when three wickets fell in quick succession during middle overs.

Rodrigues and Deepti added an invaluable 53 runs for the fourth wicket partnership.

Rodrigues put the foot on the accelerator in the slog overs and scored some quick runs to take India to a fighting total.

India will now face either Australia or New Zealand for the gold medal match in the final on Sunday while England now enter the bronze medal match scheduled for the same day.

Brief Scores:

India: 164 for 5 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 61; Freya Kemp 2/22)

England: 160 for 6 in 20 overs (Natalie Sciver 41; Sneh Rana 2/28).

(With PTI Inputs)

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