Sharma, Vastrakar star with the ball to keep West Indies Women winless
SUMMARY: India 95-2 (Rodrigues 42*, Harmanpreet 32*, Matthews 1-7) beat West Indies 94-6 (Matthews 34, Deepti 3-11, Vastrakar 2-19) by eight wickets
Another clinical bowling display from India helped them register their third win in four games – with one washed out – in the women’s T20I tri-series at Buffalo Park.
Deepti Sharma picked up 3-11 while Pooja Vastrakar made a successful return with two wickets of her own to restrict West Indies to 94, before Jemimah Rodrigues shepherded the small chase with an unbeaten 42.
Fast bowler Renuka Singh, who had missed each of India’s previous outings, returned to the XI, while West Indies brought in four players from their Under-19 T20 World Cup squad – all-rounders Zaida James, Djenaba Joseph, Trishan Holder and fast bowler Jannillea Glasgow – for Stafanie Taylor, Chinelle Henry, Shakera Selman and Chedean Nation, all of whom are recovering from injuries.
Deepti spins a web, James shines on debut
With India opting to bowl, Deepti triggered West Indies’ slide with her flight and dip. She first cleaned Rashada Williams up – who had opened with Hayley Matthews, as West Indies tried yet another combination at the top – before repeating the act against Shemaine Campbelle with her next ball.
Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad trapped Djenaba Joseph in front before Matthews and Shabika Gajnabi held fort. However, Vastrakar managed to bounce Matthews out for a run-a-ball 34 to leave West Indies at 53 for 4 in the 12th over.
It was then that James, on West Indies debut, showed her skill. She was the highest run-scorer for West Indies in the recently-concluded Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup, and carried her form into the game, scoring an unbeaten 21 off 31 balls. She prevented India from running through the line-up, but the runs took their time to come.
James tonked two sixes – as many as West Indies had managed in the entire tri-series until then – first pummeling Shikha Pandey over wide long-on, then using her feet to get to the pitch of a Deepti delivery and smash it over long-off.
James added 21 off just 16 balls with Aaliyah Alleyne, helping West Indies score 36 off the last five overs, although they could still manage only 94 – an indication of how much the batters before had struggled.
Rodrigues steady in chase
Chasing 95, India lost Smriti Mandhana early after she missed an indipper from Shamilia Connell. But Rodrigues first added 33 with one-drop Harleen Deol, and followed that with an unbroken partnership of 54 with captain Harmanpreet Kaur.
Rodrigues remained fluent on a slow track that aided spin, finding gaps frequently and cashing in on the width offered by the West Indies seamers. As the innings wore on, Harmanpreet got into her own too, and freed her arms to hit four fours as she finished unbeaten on 32 off 23 balls. The partnership only took 40 balls, and helped India get home with eight wickets and 37 balls to spare.
India now face South Africa in the tri-series final on Thursday, having qualified for the title match even before their washout against South Africa two days back. (ESPNcricinfo)