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West Indies inches closer to semi-finals as India falters

Mithali Raj’s side puts up a valiant fight but falls three runs short in the host’s final fixture of the tournament

27 March 2016 19:22 By Sidhanta Patnaik, Mohali

Women cricketers have often spoken about the significance of strike rotation, as finding boundaries is not as easy as it is in the men’s game. Stafanie Taylor (47 in 45 balls) and Deandra Dottin (45 in 40), two of the most powerful and experienced batters in the circuit, did exactly that as they showcased their smarts during a 77-run partnership for the third wicket, as West Indies Women recorded a thrilling three-run win over India Women in a Group B game of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2016 at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Sunday (March 27).

The Taylor-Dottin association was the fulcrum as West Indies scored 114 for 8 after being asked to bat. After that, the crowd, which turned up to witness the first-ever double header in India involving both the men’s and women’s teams, cheered the home team, and even if the batters put up a valiant fight, India was kept to 111 for 9.

West Indies now has to wait for the result of the England Women versus Pakistan Women game in Chennai to know its fate.

Taylor and Dottin batted together for 10.5 overs, and took 38 singles during that period. It proved costly for India in the final analysis even though their spinners bowled well on either side of that partnership.

Hayley Mathews was the first wicket to fall when she was deceived by Ekta Bisht’s arm ball that kept low in the fourth over. With Jhulan Goswami’s pace easy for the batters to negate, Mithali Raj introduced Anuja Patil, the off-spinner, in the fifth over and she got a wicket with her second ball when Kyshona Knight played across the line to be trapped in front of the wickets. Patil got her second when Shaquana Quintyne was bowled off a sweep shot, having exposed her leg stump.

At 26 for 3 in seven overs, India would have fancied its chances of slowly strangling West Indies. But Taylor, who was hit on the knee early in her innings with a throw from the deep, and Dottin used their height to good advantage. Even though the spinners got the ball to dip and turn, the duo had enough time on their hands to work around the attack. Dottin was especially impressive with the way she played the sweep and dabbed the ball to the leg side without being troubled at all.

By the 14th over, the pair had taken the team’s run rate past five and that is when they shifted gears. It resulted in Harmanpreet Kaur having Taylor caught at long-on, possibly one of the best outfield catches by an Indian fielder as Patil ran a fair distance and then dived forward to complete a clean catch.

That brought India back into the game as it conceded just 11 runs and picked up five wickets in the last 14 balls. Patil finished with impressive figures of 3 for 16, but the final over was India’s best as Kaur picked up three wickets including that of Dottin, caught smartly by Veda Krishnamurthy at deep mid-wicket, to finish with 4 for 23.

The chase on a pitch where it bowled 18 overs of spin was always going to be tough for India, and it lost Raj in the first over when she edged Shamilia Connell to the wicketkeeper.

Promoted for this game, Krishnamurthy started in a flash with three boundaries off Taylor, but pulled Dottin’s first delivery to the mid-wicket fielder. Not long after that, Kaur tried to play an inside-out drive off Afy Fletcher to be caught at deep cover.

India needed 69 in the last ten overs and Smriti Mandhana showed intent when she stepped down the track to hit Anisa Mohammed for six over long-on, but, she played on to Fletcher when on 22.

With the crowd building up, Patil and Goswami played cheeky shots to keep the chase on with a brisk 31-run stand before Quintyne had Patil lbw for 26.

Goswami hit a straight six to reduce the equation to 12 runs off nine balls, but was run out going for a second run in the next ball. Dottin had nine to defend in the final over, and she bowled full and straight as India managed just six runs and lost three wickets to leave its fans disappointed.

India’s ordinary fielding – it conceded at least 15 extra runs – and lazy running between the wickets, failing to convert ones into twos, proved decisive in the end.

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