India close in on women’s cricket World Cup semifinals with win over Bangladesh

India close in on women’s cricket World Cup semifinals with win over Bangladesh

India bolstered their push for a semifinal place at the World Cup with a crushing win over Bangladesh on Tuesday.

The beaten finalists at the previous tournament in 2017 now are tied in third spot with six points and a positive net run-rate of 0.768 after six of their seven round-robin matches.

They will meet South Africa in Christchurch on Sunday, and if they aren’t already assured of a top-four spot by then, they’ll know exactly what’s required to get one.

Defending 229-7 off 50 overs, India’s bowlers were on top throughout as Bangladesh petered out to be rolled for 119 in the 41st over.

India made an impressive start with the bat after captain Mithali Raj won the toss, but their progress was significantly hampered by losing three wickets in five balls.

Shafali Verma (42 off 42 balls) and Smriti Mandhana (30 off 51 deliveries) put on 74 for the first wicket but when Mandhana fell softly, Verma was stumped three balls later and Raj perished first ball to put Ritu Moni on a hat-trick.

However, Yastika Bhatia made a calm half-century and there were also runs from the middle and late order to make a total that was always going to challenge Bangladesh’s batting against a quality array of bowlers.

The underdogs were never in the hunt in reply, getting tied down immediately as spinners Sneh Rana (4-30 off 10 overs) and Rajeshwari Gayakwad (1-15) tied them in knots.

Points table: Australia 12 points (from six games), net run-rate 1.287; South Africa 8 (5), 0.092; India 6 (6) 0.768; West Indies 6 (6), -0.885; England 4 (5), 0.327; New Zealand 4 (6), -0.229; Bangladesh 2 (5), -0.754; Pakistan 2 (6), -0.878.

The big moment

At the fall of Bhatia’s wicket, India were 176-6 after 43.1 overs and the interest of the White Ferns, desperate for a break to stay in semifinal contention, would have been pique

However, handy allrounders Pooja Vastrakar (30 not out off 33 balls) and Sneh Rana (27 off 23) combined for a brisk seventh-wicket partnership which dampened Bangladesh’s enthusiasm of another upset victory.

Best with the bat

There were only two boundaries in Yastika Bhatia’s 50 from 80 deliveries, but she needed initially to ensure her side didn’t lose any wickets after their alarming slump, and she rotated strike handily in partnership with Richa Ghosh to steady the ship.

Best with the ball

Rana had an excellent match double, on a Seddon Park wicket favouring spin. The offspinner proved a handful with prodigious turn and bounce to take 4-30 off her 10 overs, and could have had a couple more scalps.

=overs (Salma Khatun 32; Sneh Rana 4-30) by 110 runs.

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