Leggie’s decisive spell consigns Zimbabwe to nine-wicket defeat
India Women eased past Zimbabwe Women by nine wickets to finish on top of Group A of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017.
At the P Sara Oval on Monday (February 13), Zimbabwe was bundled out for 60 in 28.5 overs, and India replied with 61 for 1 to record its fourth win in as many matches. Poonam Yadav, the leg-spinner, and Sushma Verma, the wicketkeeper, were the stars of the day. While Yadav finished with figures of 7.5-2-19-5, Verma effected four dismissals.
By the time Yadav came on to bowl in the 14th over, Mansi Joshi and Soni Yadav, playing ahead of Shikha Pandey, had reduced Zimbabwe to 22 for 2 with some sharp pace bowling.
Bowling from wide of the crease, Yadav took just four balls to strike for the first time when Ashley Ndiraya tried to hit out at a flighted delivery only to put it up in the air. Yadav did well to run behind the popping crease and complete the catch. Nonhlanhla Nyathi was her next victim when she played across the line to be trapped leg before, reducing Zimbabwe to 29 for 4.
Like Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad was persistent from the other end. She had Mary-Anne Musondo, Zimbabwe’s best batter in this tournament by a fair distance, caught behind for 26. It was Verma’s first influence over the proceedings.
Keen to make the most of a good thing, Yadav got her third wicket when Sharne Mayers played against the turn to give Verma another catch.
The next two wickets were as much about the guile of Gayakwad and Yadav as about Verma’s agility. The striking aspect in the catch she took to dismiss Pellagia Mujaji was the manner in which she rose with the bounce and caught the ball close to the bat.
For the next one, a googly from Yadav to left-handed Precious Marange, Verma had already started to move to her left, but managed to hold on to the catch to her right.
Verma completed her quota of dismissals for the day with an easy run out, while Yadav walked away with the last wicket when Josephine Nkomo played across the line to be trapped in front.
While it was a complete performance by the bowling unit, India’s fielding looked sloppy. Mithali Raj kept nine fielders inside the 30-yard circle and at least two slips for most part of the innings, but not always were the fielders alert. There were two catches dropped, and at least one run-out chance missed.
Mona Meshram, brought into the side for this game ahead of Deepti Sharma, and Veda Krishnamurthy, still to have a long stint in the middle, were promoted to kick off the chase. Veda signalled her intentions with three glorious fours on either side of the wicket in the very first over of the innings.
She was dismissed for a 16-ball 29, but Meshram (12 not out) and Harmanpreet Kaur (11 not out) completed the task with an unbroken 30-run stand, ensuring that the match ended well before lunch.
By virtue of wins over Sri Lanka and Ireland, India carries four points into the Super Six stage which starts on February 15.