India women 162 for 4 (Rodrigues 56*, Shafali 43, Deepti 34*) beat Barbados women 62 for 8 (Kyshona 16, Renuka 4-10) by 100 runs
Ruthlessness underlined India’s dismantling of Barbados in a must-win as they waltzed into the semi-finals of CWG 2022 on Wednesday evening. In what should count as one of the biggest positives, India’s batting depth was on display after the prolific pair of Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur contributed all of five runs in a total of 162. Then, their young bowling, led by the ever-improving Renuka Singh
snuffed out any fight Barbados may have put up well inside the powerplay to reduce the contest to one-way traffic.
Playing in just her third T20I, medium pacer Shanika Bruce struck in her first over when she removed Mandhana with the new ball. Looking to whip a full toss, Mandhana missed a full delivery to be hit flush on the heel as Barbados benefited from a prudent DRS call to leave India 5 for 1. But the early loss was offset quickly as Shafali Verma
counter-punched immediately to hoist India’s fifty inside the powerplay with no further loss, even as Barbados contributed generously to it with some ordinary fielding.
Yastika Bhatia’s absence meant an opportunity for Jemimah Rodrigues
to make a statement at No. 3, and she didn’t disappoint. She opened her account with a thick edge for four in the third over and didn’t hit another boundary till the 15th over. Yet, in between, she kept turning strike over by nurdling balls into gaps and running hard between the wickets.
When Shafali went on an all-out attack – slapping short balls over mid-off and flat-batting pulls into the leg side, Rodrigues slipped into the role of a second fiddle; her contribution being all of 12 runs when the half-century stand was raised. Then when India lost 3 for 16 in the space of four overs to slip from a comfortable 76 for 1 to 92 for 4, she resonated calmness as India kept chugging along. This passage included a terrible mix-up with Shafali, which Rodrigues more than made up for by batting through to make an unbeaten 46-ball 56. It was only her seventh in T20Is in 49 innings.
Rodrigues turned the screws in the 16th over when she went after Shakera Selman. Making room to access the offside, Rodrigues displayed her strong bottom-handed stroke play as she walloped a full-length delivery down the ground for six and followed that with a slap over cover to a perfectly acceptable length delivery two balls later. Deepti Sharma
, another player who has profited immensely from time in overseas leagues, was an able ally. She used the long handle from time to time, finishing with an unbeaten 28-ball 34, as India smashed 58 off the last five overs.
Four nights after she announced herself with a new-ball burst for the ages against Australia, she was at it again. Off her third ball of the innings, she sent back a charging Deandra Dottin for a duck. Two balls into her second over, she had Hayley Matthews who picked out mid-on. Then she was persisted with for a third straight over in what was an excellent bit of captaincy from Harmanpreet, and Renuka all but sealed it with the wickets of Kycia Knight – played on – and Aaliyah Alleyne, who was done in by a devious in-swinger that she left on a length to find her stumps flattened. At 19 for 4 in five overs, Barbados were starting at the inevitable.
India’s spinners then got into the game and made merry, the returning Pooja Vastrakar got some game-time ahead of bigger battles and their fielders took catches that had coach Ramesh Powar yelp in excitement. The ghosts of Australia, where they let it slip from a winning position, weren’t going to have another field day. This was as emphatic as it could get.