New Zealand won the toss at Melbourne’s Junction Oval and opted to bowl, restricting India to 133/8 after 16-year-old Verma gave them a strong start with three sixes and four fours in a quickfire 46. But they failed with the bat, narrowly missing their target despite a swashbuckling late charge by Amelia Kerr, who scored 34 off only 19 balls.
This is the second straight time that India has reached the semi-final stage, and have been unbeaten despite the storied batting not firing as yet.
Against New Zealand, wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia was promoted to No 3 in a surprise move and stitched a vital partnership with Verma which helped India win, despite the collapse.
Taniya, you had a chance to bat up the order today. Talk us through what the conversation was with the team management. And what was your role, and what did you think of your innings?
TANIYA BHATIA: The coach just wanted me to keep up the momentum because I know I can clear the 30-yard circle and I can bat well.
So what did you make of your innings today?
TANIYA BHATIA: I think I went inside with a positive intent because Shafali was batting with me so I would just keep rotating the strike and when I get the loose ball, I will go for it.
Taniya, your wicket keeping has gone through a bit of an up-and-down patch. Today you looked great and you’ve looked really good in some of these games. How have you been working on your skills in the recent past, improve your wicket keeping in particular?
TANIYA BHATIA: In terms of wicket keeping I keep it very simple. I don’t complicate it much. I keep working on basics time and again. I work hard during the offseason and before the tournament. When the tournament comes, I keep working on the basics. And also I believe in the process. So everything is a byproduct of it.
How big a result do you think this will be back home in India in terms of the fans and them noticing this side?
TANIYA BHATIA: I think we’ve been doing quite well if you see from the Tri-Series. And also I think we’re really positive. So we’ve been doing well. And the results are in our favour. So if we keep up the momentum, I think we’ll keep doing well and hopefully win the finals.
Do you think it will be – I mean, the 2017 World Cup, when the team made the semifinals, there was a lot of progress after that. Do you think a big result here, when you’re in the semis now, could lead to, I suppose, more change in terms of more pay for plays and a bigger women’s IPL and things like that?
TANIYA BHATIA: I think the last 12 to 14 months as a unit we’ve improved a lot. I think in terms of pressure situations, how to handle and read the situations well, I think we’ve got a lot better as a team.
Going back to your wicket keeping, do you think that dismissal in the Australia game was something of a different level? I’m sure that must have given you a lot of you confidence. How do you look back on that one in particular?
TANIYA BHATIA: I think it was – she’s the main bat of the team. And I just – as I said, I just keep it simple. And it actually gave me a lot of confidence. But I just keep watching the ball and just focus on that.
One question on your batting. There’s been a lot of shunting up and down as far as the opposition and the India lineup is concerned. Has that affected your game in any way?
TANIYA BHATIA: Not really. I’ve been batting well in the nets. It’s just where the team wants me to bat. And I’m ready to bat. But I think I guess I can bat well up the order because I know that I’m capable of scoring runs there.
Another key performance from Shafali early on today. New Zealand nearly caught you by the end. How are you going to make sure that you’re not relying on her early runs to help see you through games?
TANIYA BHATIA: I think everyone is in a good knock and they’re playing well. It’s just one or two odd games it happens. But I think Shafali is giving us a good start. And I think our bigger roles will take up the responsibility.