Antigua, Nov 5: India began their preparations for the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 in fine style by defeating tournament hosts and defending champions, the Windies, by five wickets in a practice match ahead of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018.
Finalists at last year’s ICC Women’s World Cup in England and Wales, India punched above their weight in the shorter format to gain confidence ahead of the 10-team tournament even as New Zealand recorded a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in another match in Antigua.
Bangladesh also won their opening practice match by six wickets over Ireland.
Electing to bat, the Windies opener Hayley Matthews (41 off 37 balls) made an explosive start. However, India’s bowlers fought back and restricted the tournament hosts to 115 for eight.
Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav took the important wicket of Matthews before Radha Yadav took two quick wickets to suppress the destructive Windies middle order and finished with figures of two for 13 from four overs.
India’s reply got off to a bad start with the loss of Mithali Raj for a duck. However, other opener Smriti Mandhana was able to steady the innings and set up the victory for India after making an impressive 32 off just 20 balls.
The game was rain affected and India were set a revised target of 75 in 12 overs. Despite accurate bowling from Deandra Dottin – which saw her finish with three wickets - India held on to clinch victory with just three balls to spare.
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said, “It was a really exciting game and I am really happy with how our team played today. This is the kind of performance I expect from my team and I hope we can take this confidence into the tournament. It is always nice to win, and we have set high standards for the team, We did really well in the last ODI World Cup and we are expecting good results again here.”
Windies’ stand-in captain Hayley Matthews said, “Everybody got an opportunity with bat and the ball and that is important. Despite the loss, we got to see what we have and what the opposition India, have as well. We are looking forward to playing in Guyana and St Lucia now. They are two great and historic grounds, we know the conditions and will have lots of support, so that should help us.”
Brief scores: Windies: 115-8 in 20 overs (Hayley Matthews 47; Radha Yadav 2-13, Poonam Yadav 2-17) lose to India: 75-5 in 12 overs (Smriti Mandhana 32; Deandra Dottin 3-12) by five wickets (DLS method). (UNI)