With the match being reduced to a 15-over-a-side contest, India exhibited remarkable batting prowess, posting an imposing total of 173 for the loss of 2 wickets. This impressive total was primarily attributed to the stellar performances of Shafali Verma, skipper Smriti Mandhana, who contributed 27 runs from 16 balls, and Jemimah Rodrigues, who blazed her way to 47 runs from 29 deliveries. Richa Ghosh’s cameo, contributing 21 runs from a mere 7 balls, served as the icing on the cake.
For Malaysia, the monumental task of surpassing the 100-run mark, let alone chasing the revised target of 177 set by the DLS method, was all but impossible. Malaysia only managed to face two deliveries before torrential rain intervened, forcing the match to be called off prematurely.
India’s superior ICC ranking, as of June 1, placed them as the top-seeded Asian team in the competition, thereby securing their passage to the semifinals.
Opting to field first on a sluggish pitch, Malaysia’s skipper Winifred Duraisingam watched as her team struggled, marred by sloppy fielding that resulted in several dropped catches. Malaysia’s bowling attack lacked the firepower to trouble India’s batters.
The lack of pace in their deliveries forced Shafali Verma to frequently step down the track in a bid to meet the ball early. Meanwhile, Smriti Mandhana capitalized on full-toss deliveries, dispatching them to all corners of the ground.
India’s opening pair accumulated 59 runs within the Powerplay before Smriti Mandhana was dismissed while attempting a pull shot off a slightly fuller delivery from spinner Mahira Izzati Ismail.
Shafali Verma’s fierce innings featured five towering sixes and four boundaries. Her striking prowess was prominently evident in the region between square leg and deep mid-wicket, along with a straight six that propelled her to a well-deserved half-century.
Jemimah Rodrigues showcased her fine form, amassing six boundaries and forming a crucial partnership of 86 runs for the second wicket with Shafali. However, Shafali Verma faced a moment of discomfort when she was struck on her right forearm by a powerful back-drive by Rodrigues, necessitating immediate medical attention.
Despite a reprieve in the deep off the bowling of Mas Elysa, Shafali Verma was subsequently caught plumb in front. Richa Ghosh’s explosive performance in the final over of the innings, including four boundaries, propelled India past the 170-run mark.
India’s remarkable batting display and Shafali Verma’s explosive innings secured their place in the semifinals, leading them to victory over Malaysia due to their superior ICC ranking.
(With PTI inputs)