World Cup: India stay afloat after big Bangladesh win

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An inconsistent India kept their semi-final hopes alive with a comfortable 110-run victory over Bangladesh in Hamilton. India registered a comprehensive win on a sluggish surface at the Seddon Park, but they were far from at their dominant best.

The heavy fluctuations in the batting performance were again a concern as they only managed 229 for 7 in their allotted 50 overs after Mithali Raj opted to bat first. Yes, the pitch was used a day before for a Pakistan and West Indies tie. It was low and slow, but the way Indian batters threw away their wickets, was outrageous. One of the reasons why India find themselves in a tricky spot is that they have not gelled as a unit so far, and it is something which sticks out on the ground during their losses against Australia, New Zealand, and England. India has failed to bring their A game to the tournament barring the win against West Indies.

Another batting collapse

Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma put on 74 runs for the first wicket, India’s first 50-run opening stand in the tournament. But the way Smiriti (30 off 41b; 3×4) got out was abysmal; she mistimed a pull shot in a tame fashion. Mandhana’s wicket opened the floodgates for Bangladesh. In a span of five balls, India lost Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma (42 off 42 balls; 6×4, 1×6) and skipper Mithali Raj (0).

Shafali, looking at her best after a long time, was stumped in another outrageous fashion. It was a length ball outside off; Shafali stepped out for a wild hoick, missed the ball and by the time she turned around, Nigar Sultana had broken the stumps.

If Smriti and Shafali perished to wild hits, the Mithali Raj dismissal was baffling. The Indian skipper, a veteran of 231 ODIs, playing her sixth World Cup, must be livid after the way she got out. The first ball Mithali faced, she went for an uppish drive and lobbed it straight to cover – an uncharacteristic dismissal.

Indian vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur (14 off 33 balls; 1×4) ran herself out and left India reeling at 108 for 4. There was no run, and Harmanpreet called for it as soon as she struck it, a direct throw from Fargana Hoque caught her short of the crease.

Yastika grabs the opportunity

With wickets tumbling at one end, Yastika Bhatia (50 off 80 balls; 2×4) ensured that she would not let this opportunity slip away. The southpaw dropped anchor and scored a timely half-century, her second in as many games in the tournament. Yastika, who has also opened in a couple of games, was dropped to No 3, by her own admission, the position she loves to bat.

Bhatia alongwith Richa Ghosh, were tasked with the rebuilding job, and it was one they set about cautiously. But Richa was quickly up and running with successive fours through point, though the cut shot would later bring her downfall. Richa was dropped off Ritu by the keeper, but it was not a costly miss as she did not add to her score of 26 before falling to Nahida in the next over, Nigar Sultana making amends behind the stumps.

Bhatia brought up a patient 79-ball half-century but fell to the next delivery, leaving India 176 for six at the start of the 44th over. For her feisty knock, Yastika was adjudged player of the match.

Vastrakar-Rana show

If not for Pooja Vastrakar (30 not out off 33 balls;2×4) and Sneh Rana (27 off 23 balls; 2×4), India would have struggled to get past the 200-run mark. The duo put on an invaluable 48-run stand at the rearguard for the seventh wicket in just 34 balls and guided India to a respectable total.

It was not the first time that the all-round duo of Rana and Vastrakar had come to India’s rescue. In the first match against Pakistan, their record 122-run stand for the seventh wicket saved India from embarrassment.

With the ball in their hands, they shared six wickets between them against Bangladesh. Both Vastrakar and Rana are level at the top of the wicket-takers list for the tournament, each bowler claiming their 10th scalp.

Rana spins Bangladesh away

Bangladesh has put on a spirited performance with the ball and in the field. With the ball, they are the most economical team; they hardly give anything on the field. But it is their batters who need to step up.

Bangladesh’s pursuit of 230 started slowly. Murshida’s six over cover in the fifth over, Bangladesh’s first maximum at a World Cup, only sixth in their ODI history, doubling her side’s score, and a quick double blow before the end of the powerplay dented their hopes.

Sharmin Akhter was caught at slip attempting a booming off-drive off Gayakwad before Fargana was trapped in front by a full Vastrakar delivery without scoring.

Bangladesh were 19 for two at the 10-over mark, the lowest score after the powerplay in the tournament so far, and the mountain they had to climb became steeper when captain Nigar holed out, attempting to increase the run rate.

Murshida, dropped twice, saw her luck run out when she was smartly taken by Harmanpreet Kaur off Yadav for 19 and it was 35 for 5 when a successful review showed the ball had flicked Rumana Ahmed’s glove en route to Bhatia at short leg, handing Rana a second wicket in her miserly opening spell.

Salma Khatun provided a glimmer of light for Bangladesh, hitting four boundaries in her 32 before edging Jhulan Goswami behind to seal her side’s fate.

For India, Sneh Rana (4/30), Pooja Vastrakar (2/26) and Jhulan Goswami (2//19) were the pick of the bowlers.

Brief Scores

India: 229 for 7 in 50 overs (Yastika Bhatia 50, Shafali Verma 42; Ritu Moni 3/37, Nahida Akter 2/42)

Bangladesh: 119 all out in 40.3 overs (Salma Khatun 32; Sneh Rana 4/30, Jhulan Goswami 2/19)

Meg Lanning’s Australia pip Rahul Dravid-led Team India’s one-day chasing record

Australia’s relentless march through the Women’s World Cup continued with captain Meg Lanning thrashing an unbeaten century as the tournament favourites dealt South Africa a humbling five-wicket defeat in Wellington on Tuesday. The win extended their streak to six.

In the process, Australia became the most successful team while chasing in the history of ODI cricket. Australia have now won 18 successive matches when chasing in ODIs. They surpassed Rahul Dravid-led India, who won 17 games in a row in 2005-06.

England Women’s team has won 15 during 2008-09, and are tied at third with New Zealand women team, who also have the same amount of wins while chasing during 2015-17. The might West Indies men’s team of the 1980s are next with 14 wins during 1985-86.

Undefeated Australia made light work of South Africa’s 271 for five, ticking off the winning runs with nearly five overs to spare. Lanning smashed 135 off 130 balls as Australia won their sixth straight match, the star skipper scooping another player-of-the-match award after hammering 97 against India.

Already qualified for the semi-finals, Australia head into their final group match against Bangladesh on Friday with only one concern, a back injury for Ellyse Perry that saw the all-rounder miss her usual top order batting spot.

Brief Scores

South Africa: 271 for 5 in 50 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 90, Sune Luus 52) lost to

Australia: 272 for 5 in 45.2 overs (Meg Lanning 135 not out, Tahlia McGrath 32; Shabnim Ismail 2/33, Chloe Tryon 2/44)

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