India will take on England in the final of the inaugural ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup after the former got the better of New Zealand and the latter overcame Australia in a thriller at the Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Friday (January 27).
Parshavi Chopra led India’s bowling efforts while Shweta Sehrawat continued her good form in the tournament and remained unbeaten on 61 as the side got home with plenty of overs to spare.
England came back from 45 for 7 to win a closely contested match thanks to the all-round efforts of Alexa Stonehouse and Grace Scrivens. Just like in the first semi final, it was a leg spinner headlined the bowling efforts. After Australia pacers made early inroads, Stonehouse and Josie Groves added 46 runs for the eighth wicket to keep England in the game.
In the first semi final, having won the toss, Shafali Verma decided to bowl first and her bowlers immediately responded with a couple of early wickets. Left-arm spinner Mannat Kashyap had Anna Browning caught at slip by Soumya Tiwari and Emma McLeod was trapped in front of the wicket by Titas Sadhu.
Although she was dropped on the first ball, Georgia Plimmer held things together for New Zealand even as wickets fell at the other end. Apart from Plimmer, only wicket-keeper Izzy Gaze looked assured at the crease against India’s spinners and White Ferns were eventually finished on 107 for 9 from their stipulated 20 overs.
Chopra struck in her first over to remove Gaze and then removed skipper Izzy Sharpa and Emma Irwin to leave New Zealand reeling. Shafali kept things tight in her four overs giving away only seven runs.
In the chase, 17 runs came of the second over with Natasha Codyre struggling with her line. Plimmer pulled off a blinder at deep mid-wicket boundary to send Shafali back for just ten.
However, Sehrawat took on Paige Loggenberg and hit three consecutive boundaries to help India over the fifty-run mark by the end of the power play. She brought up her third fifty of the tournament from 39 balls with a single off Abigail Hotton in the 12th over.
Although Tiwari fell, Sehrawat finished the match in style in the 15th over with a boundary as an elated India celebrated their run into the final of the inaugural edition of the tournament.
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In the second semi, it looked like England let the occasion better of them as they had a frantic start. With Milly Illingworth and Maggie Clark bowling tight lines, in-form Liberty Heap and Niamh Holland fell early. Seren Smale fell to an LBW decision even though it seemed like it hit her glove when she went for a reverse sweep.
From there, England lost four more wickets in quick succession including that of the skipper Scrivens. Despite the resurrection by Stonehouse and Groves, it seemed like England fell way short of a competitive total with only 99 runs on the board.
However, England came out firing and reduced Australia to 4 for 2 with Ellie Anderson and Stonehouse striking in the opening overs. There was a mini recovery from Australia as Claire Moore and Ella Hayward added 30 runs for the third wicket.
But just like England, Australia lost wickets in clusters with Baker striking thrice – including twice in an over – and was reeling at 59 for 7 at the end of the 13th over.
Amy Smith kept Australia in the chase and looked like she was taking them home with a calm knock. But Groves accounted for her when the leg spinner had her caught at long-off.
Eventually it came down to four needed with two wickets in hand, but England held their nerve better and got rid of Illingworth with a direct hit. Scrivens came back to bowl the penultimate over to remove Clark and England broke into celebration as they joined India in the final.
New Zealand 107/9 in 20 overs (Georgia Plimmer 35, Izzy Gaze 26; Parshavi Chopra 3/20) lost to India 110/2 in 14.2 overs (Shweta Sehrawat 61*, Soumya Tiwari 26; Anna Browing 2/18 by 8 wicket POTM: Parshavi Chopra
England 99/10 in 19.5 overs (Alexa Stonehouse 25; Sianna Ginger 3/13, Maggie Clark 3/15) beat Australia 96/10 in 18.4 overs (Amy Smith 26; Hannah Baker 3/10, Grace Scrivens 2/8) by 3 runs POTM: Hannah Baker