Indian women produced an all-round performance in the virtual quarter-final against New Zealand to register a convincing 186-run victory and thus booked a place in the semis.
Indian skipper Mithali Raj was declared as the woman of the match.
Put into bat, India posted a more than competitive total of 265/7, thanks to skipper Mithali Raj’s brilliant century.
Offspinner Leigh Kasperek removed Raj in taking 3-45 off 10 overs while recalled seamer Hannah Rowe took a miserly 2-30 off her full complement.
New Zealand crumbled for a paltry 79 off 25.3 overs in response to 7-265, recording their lowest score in 11 editions of the tournament. Because of that partnership we had a few more runs in the end.
The 16-year-old Ameliia Kerr has 10 wickets in the tournament. Raj’s conscious effort to keep her strike rate in the vicinity of 80 shone through. It forced Suzie Bates to staunch the flow of runs with Amy Satterthwaite’s offspin, but that also did not work.
Along with Australia’s Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry, Mithali is the only other player to have an average of above 50 among players with 1500-plus runs.
Laura Wolvaardt made her third half century in four matches but was caught at deep mid-wicket for 71 in the 33rd over as the South Africans were all out for 210.
Speaking of the 5-fer Rajeshwari Gayakwad bagged, Mithali said, “It’s always important that if the fast bowlers give you those couple of early wickets, then the spinners really don’t have the pressure of getting the first wicket”. It looked like a collapse was on the cards, but out came Veda to play a career-defining innings.
But this was a great partnership too and not only because of Krishnamurthy, though she undoubtedly played a big part.
India have had an impressive record at the County Ground in Derby – the venue for the semifinal, having won all four games played there. As per Cricviz, misfieldeds cost New Zealand 12 runs, not that it mattered in the final context. Raj is batting with confidence and elegance, Harmanpreet Kaur, considered by many the X Factor player, finally starting to come good and Veda Krishnamurthy giving the final flourish. But the one thing they will take away from their thrashing of New Zealand is the importance of intent. Those who didn’t watch her anchor a superb innings against New Zealand on Saturday know, at least, that she is a centurymaker, a run-getter, an athlete of high accomplishments.