India came out on top in their second match of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup as they won by six wickets against West Indies at Newlands in Cape Town. Richa Ghosh (44*), Harmanpreet Kaur (33) and Shafali Verma were all amongst runs as India chased down 118 with 11 balls to spare. It was Deepti Sharma who turned the game towards the Women In Blue with her three-wicket spell. West Indies’ miseries continued as they suffered their second loss on the trot and also faced injury concerns to Stafanie Taylor and Hayley Matthews.
The toss had landed in Matthews’ favour and the West Indies captain chose to put runs on the board. Indian skipper Harmanpreet was not fazed by it too much as she had her deputy and star batter Smriti Mandhana available again after missing the first game due to an injury. India also brought in allrounder Devika Vaidya in place of Harleen Deol, while the West Indies replaced Zaida James with Karishma Ramharack.
West Indies had the experienced pair of Matthews and Taylor opening the innings for them and they made a cautious start against Renuka Singh Thakur, scoring four runs of the first over.
At this point, India decided to deviate from their usual strategy of introducing a spinner from the other end and brought in Pooja Vastrakar. Anjum Chopra mentioned on the commentary that Vastrakar was a good matchup for Matthews. The former Indian captain was validated as the quick got the edge of the dangerous West Indies skipper on the very first ball and Richa Ghosh completed the job behind the stumps.
After seeing off the pacers in the first four overs, Taylor and Shemaine Campbelle started building the foundation. The pair did not take any unnecessary risks and found a boundary almost every over, often assisted by India’s average fielding.
At the halfway point, West Indies were 53 for 1. Despite keeping the run rate in check, the Indian spinners were not able to break the partnership until the 14th over, and unsurprisingly it was Deepti who found the breakthrough. Campbelle tried to go for the reverse sweep, but was caught by Mandhana at short point.
One often brings two and two, more. Deepti struck again on the final ball of the over and trapped Taylor in front of the stumps. The former West Indies skipper, who was batting on 42, was given not out on the field, but had to depart without making her first half-century since her return from injury after India successfully reviewed the decision. Mandhana again displayed fielding excellence by running out Henry in the next over.
Shabika Gajnabi and Chedean Nation added some quick runs before Thakur knocked off the former’s stumps with her final delivery of the day. Deepti finished the innings with a tidy over, in which she picked the wicket of Afy Fletcher, her 100th in T20 internationals.
Chasing 118, the Indian openers made good use of the pace provided to them in the first two overs. Shafali Verma hit three boundaries off Shamilia Connell while Mandhana took Henry for a couple in the next over.
West Indies skipper Matthews realised that taking pace off would be a better strategy on this pitch and immediately brought herself into the attack from one end and Ramharack from the other. The off-spin did its job and Ramharack found the breakthrough in her first over. She tempted Mandhana to come down the track with a short ball that ended up turning away from her sharply and Rashada Williams completed the stumping. Matthews removed Jemimah Rodrigues, India’s hero from the last match, with a sharp catch off her own bowling.
The strikes also resulted in slowing down of scoring. The pressure resulted in Verma giving away her wicket too to Ramharack. From being 28 for none after two overs, India added only 16 runs in the next six.
Momentarily, it looked like the West Indies had snatched back control of the game. But at the end of the eight over Stafanie Taylor had to be stretchered off the field. The moment seemed to have impacted the Caribbean side’s morale as Harmanpreet and Ghosh took charge of the proceedings from thereon.
The Indian skipper hit some beautiful shots and after settling herself in. Ghosh also started finding the boundaries. The pair ensured that India remained ahead of the asking rate. Harmanpreet fell to a wide delivery from Henry with just four runs left to grab the win. Ghosh hit a boundary to wrap up the game in the penultimate over and India made it two from two at the World Cup.
Brief Scores: West Indies 118/6 in 20 overs (Stafanie Taylor 42, Shemaine Campbelle 30; Deepti Sharma 3/15) lost to India 119/4 in 19.1 overs (Richa Ghosh 44*, Harmanpreet Kaur 33; Karishma Ramharack 2/14) by 6 wickets POTM: Deepti Sharma