India roared into the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup with a crushing 186-run win over New Zealand in Derby on Saturday. The Kiwis were bundled out for just 79 in a tall chase of 266, with Rajeshwari Gayakwad returning incredible figures of 5/15, the best figures by an Indian bowler in the Women’s World Cup.

India did not have the best of starts. Openers Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut fell early and Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur were left to lift India from 23/2. They put together a steady 130-run partnership but New Zealand struck back with the wickets of Kaur and Deepti Sharma.

This brought out Veda Krishnamurthy who played an innings which changed the complexion of the game. Joining Mithali Raj when she was on 72, Krishnamurthy shocked the Kiwis with a sensational assault, plundering 70 off 45 balls, the fastest by an Indian batter in a Women’s World Cup. Mithali Raj also scored 109 in a partnership of 108 in just 13 overs which lifted India to a commanding 265/7.

New Zealand’s chase was derailed right at the beginning when pacers Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey sent back the openers by the second over. They never recovered after that, collapsing from 51/3 to 79 all out, completely unable to pick India’s spinners. Deepti Sharma picked 2/26, Poonam Yadav got a wicket but it was Rajeshwari Gayakwad who stole the show with a mesmerising performance in her very first match in the tournament.

Brought in to replace Ekta Bisht, Gayakwad destroyed New Zealand with figures of 5/15 in her spell of 5.1 overs. Amy Satterthwaite top-scored for the Kiwis with 26 as India won by 186 runs, their fourth-biggest win ever and their biggest in the Women’s World Cup.

Brief scores:

India 265/7 in 50 overs (Mithali Raj 109, Veda Krishnamurthy 70; Leigh Kasperek 3/45, Hannah Rowe 2/30) beat New Zealand 79 all out in 25.3 overs (Amy Satterthwaite 26, Amelia Kerr 12 not out; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 5/15, Deepti Sharma 2/26) by 186 runs.