Reigning ODI World Champions England beat India by eight wickets in Antigua on Friday to enter the final of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018.
England will meet Australia in the final after the Southern Stars demolished hosts and last edition’s winners West Indies by 71 runs.
Captain Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss on a slow pitch as India decided to leave out Mithali Raj for the big game.
Batting first, India collapsed to 112 in 19.2 overs with opener Smriti Mandhana top-scoring with 33 off 24 balls. India lost their last eight wickets for 23 runs.
For England, Kirstie Gordon (2/20), skipper Heather Knight (3/9) and Sophie Ecclestone (2/22) wreaked havoc as seven Indian batters failed to get into double figures.
While chasing, England coasted along nicely despite losing two early wickets to reach the below-par target in only 17.1 overs. Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma gave hope for India by dismissing the openers in the powerplay but from there on India paid the price for some insipid bowling, failing to build any pressure on the England middle order.
Amy Jones (53 no off 45 balls) and Natalie Sciver (52 no off 40 balls) added 92 runs for third wicket to take their team to the summit clash.
Jones hit the only six of the innings on the way to her highest T20I score, an unbeaten 53 (45b, 3x4, 1x6) and was the more aggressive initially, batting on 15 off 11 when she was joined by Sciver in the fifth over. By the 11th over, Sciver had pulled ahead. She was extremely strong on the pull, bisecting the deep fielders on multiple occasions.
Earlier, Smriti Mandhana seemed to be batting on another pitch as compared to all the other Indian batters, as she rode her luck to a quick-fire 34 (23b, 5x4, 1x6). While most others struggled to time the ball, Mandhana’s looked fluent, picking her bowlers and her areas, becoming the second highest run scorer in the tournament on the way.
Mandhana was dropped on 13, and helped India to a 43-run opening partnership, which was then built on by Harmanpreet Kaur (16, 20b, 1x6) and Jemimah Rodrigues (26, 26b, 3x4). The pair took India to a position of seeming strength, at 93 for three after 15 overs.
From there, India lost five wickets for 11 runs to eventually collapse to 112 all out in the last over. The slide began when Kirstie Gordon took two wickets in the 16th over, including that of Harmanpreet. The new batters failed to negotiate the lack of pace, as three wickets fell to run-outs, and the rest to the England spinners, ensuring England had a chase-able total on their hands.
Scores in brief:
England defeated India by eight wicket at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua
India: 112 all out, 19.3 overs (Smriti Mandhana 34, Jemimah Rodrigues 26; Heather Knight 3-9, Kirstie Gordon 2-20, Sophie Ecclestone 2-22)
England: 116-2, 17.1 overs (Jones 53, Sciver 52)
India 112 in 19.2 overs (Smriti Mandhana 33 off 24 balls, Jemimah Rodriguez 26 off 26 balls, Heather Knight 3/9, Kirstie Gordon 2/20)
England 116 for 2 in 17.1 overs (Amy Jones 53 no, Nat Sciver 52 no).