India scrapes into T20 World Cup semis after rainy win
GQEBERHA, South Africa (AP) — India scraped through to the semifinals at the Women’s T20 World Cup after narrowly winning its rain-shortened final group game against Ireland on Monday.
India triumphed by five runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method after setting a target of 155-6, boosted by another half-century by star opener Smriti Mandhana, who survived a host of chances to make a career-best 87 from 56 balls.
Ireland was 54-2 in 8.2 overs and just behind the rate needed when rain arrived at St. George’s Park in Gqeberha, the south coast city formerly known as Port Elizabeth.
It meant India moved to second in Group 2 behind England and will likely go on to a semifinal against defending champion and top-ranked Australia on Thursday at Newlands in Cape Town — unless England loses to Pakistan on Tuesday by enough that its net run rate dips under India’s. Then India will qualify as the top team of Group 2.
“Good to get into the semis and we will give our 100%,” India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said.
The Group 2 winner will play whoever qualifies behind Australia in Group 1. New Zealand is in position to do that but host South Africa could seize the last semifinal place if it beats Bangladesh on Tuesday.
For India, Mandhana’s 87 followed her 52 in a losing effort against England on Saturday.
She hit nine fours and three sixes against Ireland to underline she is back to her best after missing India’s opening game of the tournament with a finger injury. Ireland, which dropped Mandhana four times, including twice in two overs, finally held onto a chance when Gaby Lewis took a catch down at long-off.
Ireland had a disastrous start to its chase when Amy Hunter was run out going for a second run off the first ball of the innings. Orla Prendergast was bowled by Renuka Singh off the fifth ball of the first over and Ireland was reeling at 1-2.
Lewis (32 not out) and captain Laura Delany (17 not out) brought Ireland back and might have done enough to win if they hadn’t scored only singles for the last 2.2 overs before the rain.
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