A solid bowling performance followed by a brilliant opening stand between Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma helped India to an eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games, while Australia booked their place in the semi-finals with a clinical triumph over Barbados.
Toss: Pakistan elected to bat
Result: India won by eight wickets
India beat Pakistan by eight wickets to register their first win in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in a rain-affected 18 overs-per-side match.
Pakistan made a steady start with the bat despite losing an early wicket, but things took a downward curve after Sneh Rana took two wickets in the ninth over to send back set batters Bismah Maroof(17) and Muneeba Ali(32).
Wickets continued to fall regularly, with India piling on the pressure with some excellent fielding. S Meghana pulled off a direct hit at the non-striker’s end to dismiss Aliya Riaz shortly after Omaima Sohail was also run out.
Shafali Verma would take a low, diving return catch in the penultimate over, one of the highlights of India’s outstanding fielding display in the match.
Bowled out for 99 in the rain-shortened 18-over game, Pakistan had their task cut out with Smriti Mandhana coming out all guns blazing. The left-handed opener thumped Anam Amin for a six and a four in the second over and added three more boundaries in the next over off Diana Baig.
Shafali Verma added to Pakistan’s woes with a six and a four next over. In the last over of the Powerplay, Pakistan managed to send back Verma, but India were already 61/1 and well on track to ace the run chase.
Mandhana soon brought up her fifty with a six and stood unbeaten as India completed the run chase with more than eight overs to spare.
Toss: Australia elected to field
Result: Australia won by nine wickets
Australia became the first team through to the semi-finals with a comfortable victory over Barbados.
The Caribbean side failed to cope with the leg-spin of Alana King (4/8) as they were bowled out for 64 and Meg Lanning’s side chased that score down with ease.
Barbados’ high-class top-order was made to look second-best against Australia’s bevy of quality bowlers, with Tahlia McGrath (3/13) and Ashleigh Gardner (2/6) providing King with plenty of support.
King had Shakera Selman and Shamilia Connell dismissed in consecutive deliveries and could have even completed a Commonwealth Gams hat-trick if Lanning had held on to an easy chance at slip provided by Keila Elliott.
Lanning was left to rue the simple drop, as she denied King what would have been the second hat-trick seen at Commonwealth Games level following Brad Young’s feat for Australia at the men’s event in 1998.
“I’ll have nightmares,” Lanning said after the match.
“I wanted to dig a hole and jump in it as quick as I could.
“I don’t know, I tried my best and I dropped it. I wasn’t overly pleased. Let’s put it that way.
“I was just disappointed for Kingy, she was bowling so well and to let her down like that was not ideal. But that’s cricket, I guess.”
It made little difference to the result, with Australia overcoming the early loss of Beth Mooney (2) to power to victory on the first ball of the ninth over.
Opener Alyssa Healy (23*) and Lanning (36*) finished unbeaten for the victors, but it was the Australia bowlers that dominated the contest for the gold medal favourites.
The victory sees Australia book their place in the semi-finals of the tournament, while Barbados can still qualify if they can defeat India in their final match.
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