Harmanpreet Kaur: India ready for likely semifinal against Australia | Cricket News

India made it to the semifinals of the Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa on the back of a five-run win over Ireland in their rain-hit last group game, which has raised the confidence of skipper Harmanpreet Kaur leading up to a likely semifinal against defending champoins Australia.
The Indian team finished second in Group 2 to book a spot in the semis, with current group leaders England as the other team to reach the last-four stage. England have a game against Pakistan left to play, but are likely to remain at the top of the group irrespective of the result in that game because of their superior net run-rate.
Australia have already won Group 1, so are almost certain to play India as runners-up in Group One in the semi-finals.

India captain Harmanpreet said India had gained confidence from having played Australia in a series in India last season, despite only winning one game — and that was on a super over.
She pointed out that all teams, including champion sides like Australia, were under pressure in World Cup games.
“The brand of cricket we played (against Australia) gave us a lot of confidence,” said Kaur. “We have a fair idea of how we have to go about the next game and we will make our plans accordingly.”
Smriti Mandhana hit a T20 international career-best 87 as India made 155 for six. Ireland were with 54 for two from 8.2 overs, with Gaby Lewis 32 not out, when rain ended play.

A strong, swirling wind made conditions difficult and Mandhana was dropped four times in the outfield during a 56-ball innings which included nine fours and three sixes.
Teenage prodigy Shafali Verma struggled again at the top of the batting order, making 24 off 29 balls, but Kaur said she remained a key player.
“We always encourage her to express herself. Whenever she clicks we are always into the game. In practice she is batting well. We know how important she is,” said Kaur.


Harmanpreet Kaur creates twin records in T20Is

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Ireland made a disastrous start to their reply when Amy Hunter was run out off the first ball of the innings, attempting a second run after hitting the ball to midwicket.
Four balls later Prendergast was bowled by Renuka Thakur without scoring.
But Lewis and captain Laura Delany, who earlier took three for 33, shared a spirited unbeaten partnership of 53.\

Delany admitted that they had been unaware of how close they had been to a possible winning situation.
“The weather changed so quickly,” she said.
Although Ireland lost all their matches, Delany said they had made progress since their first World T20 in 2018.
“We were not on a level playing field then,” she said. “Now we have contracts and things are heading in the right direction.”
(With agency inputs)

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