Mithali, spinners hammer New Zealand, India eves enter semi-final

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 15, 2017 21:35 hrs
India eves enter semi-final

Derby: Rajeshwari Gayakwad took a brilliant five-wicket haul as India Women hammered New Zealand Women by a massive 186 runs to enter the semi-final of the ICC Women's World Cup at County Ground, Derby on Saturday.

Chasing a mammoth 266-run target, the Indian spinners tied down the Kiwis and they imploded in dramatic fashion to fold out for 79.

With this the semi-final line-ups have been confirmed. While England will take on South Africa in Bristol on Tuesday, India will lock horns against Australia in Derby on Thursday.

New Zealand were off to a disastrous start as they lost their skipper Suzie Bates early with Shikha Pandey getting the first breakthrough for India eves.

Jhulan Goswami then took an excellent return catch to pack off Rachel Priest. With two down for just seven runs on board, India eves further stepped up their attack and Deepti Sharma got the dangerous Katey Martin.

Mithali Raj made some brilliant bowling changes as the introduction of Gayakwad saw India chip away with wickets. The New Zealand middle-order collapsed to spin and the India eves took giant strides towards victory.

Gayakwad foxed the New Zealand women as India eves had Kiwis on the match with eight down for just 62 runs on board. From then it was mere completion of formaties and the women in blue set a date with Australia in what would be a fascinating semi-final clash.

Earlier, skipper Mithali struck a sparkling century to help the Indian women post a healthy 265/7.

Put into bat, Mithali (109 off 123 balls, 11*4) helped resurrect India's innings with two century stands -- first a 132-run third wicket partnership with Harmanpreet Kaur (60 off 90, 7*4) and then joined forces with Veda Krishnamurthy (70 off 45, 7*4, 2*6) to add 108 runs.

India were off to a disastrous start, losing the early wickets of Smriti Mandana (13) and Punam Raut (4) to find themselves tottering at a precarious 21/2 by the eighth over.

Mithali, who on Saturday became the first Indian batswoman to notch 1000 World Cup runs, batted cautiously to steady the ship along with all-rounder Harmanpreet as the New Zealand bowlers kept testing the Indians with some tight line and length.

The 34-year-old Mithali, already the highest run-getter in the 50-over format, got to her sixth One-Day International (ODI) ton off 116 balls when she drove Leigh Kasperek between long-on and deep mid-wicket.

India capitalised the poor start in the middle overs, milking 16-year-old leg-spinner Amelia Kerr for 64 runs besides skipper Suzie Bates leaking 59 from her 8 overs.

Veda's innings towards the end was what India missed in the previous match against the Australians on Wednesday, as the right-hander gave the innings the much-needed acceleration, which included two towering sixes.

The final over, however, witnessed a quick fall of wickets with Mithali, Veda and Shikha Pandey (0) going one after the other as India finished at 265/7.

For the White Ferns, Kasperek was the pick of the bowlers grabbing 3/45 while Hannah Rowe took 2/30 and Lea Tahuhu contributed with the wicket of opener Punam.

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