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White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020: Kaur’s Girls Clinch Hat-Trick Of Wins, Move To Semis

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On a breezy day at Melbourne’s Junction Oval, it was all bright sunshine for India as Harmanpreet Kaur’s team cold-shouldered the White Ferns, the third-most powerful side on T20 rankings, to register a table-topping win in Group A.
In scripting, a fantastic win, as thrilling as it was scant by the margin of runs, India Women’s side became the first to enter the elite Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final stage.
Not a day that the New Zealanders would want to remember, especially after coming so close, braving a back-breaking spell of dominant bowling by a confident India, Melbourne upheld the victory of the side that kept its nerve.
The brilliant Shikha Pandey, conceding 12 in her defense of 16, required from the final over, guided India home, supported by an excellent display of all-round spin bowling- Gayakwad, Poonam, Radha all playing their part- against Amelia Kerr, who all but took the White Ferns home.
But battle lines had been drawn much earlier than the exciting contest’s ultimate over.
So what moments and feats made the White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020 contest a memorable one?

Shafali’s Extends Dream Run In White Ferns v India T20 World Cup 2020

White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020
The moment young but fiery Shafali Verma freed her arms over New Zealand’s rather hapless bunch of bowlers, unfazed by losing someone like Smriti Mandhana in just the third over of India’s innings, you felt the contest was going to be something different; akin to a battle between a brave young gun and an outfit that’s as respected as known for its domineering good form.
While India put just 133 on the board, though in the unlikeliest of fashions- the big guns in Rodrigues and Harman recording ordinary performances, not to mention another off-day with the bat for Veda Krishnamurthy- as a fan you felt glad that the puppy-faced ball-basher Verma was there amid India’s batting decay.
That she scored 46 of her team’s 133 conveyed her importance to a side that desperately needed runs against an opponent that’s made a reputation by smashing bowlers to the smithereens.
New Zealand’s “smash-sisters”- Bates and Devine- alone accounting for nearly 6,000 T20I runs.
But before India’s spinners joined hands with Shikha Pandey to launch a counter-attack with the ball, it was a Shafali Verma show, exemplified by 34-ball-46 run knock, featuring 4 boundaries and 3 sixes, at a strike rate of 135.

Poonam Spins, Devine Misfires, India Get The Big Fish

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White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020
You wouldn’t have said that the White Ferns were tottering at 30 for 2 at the end of 6 overs. It’s all too common to lose a quick wicket or two in the sport’s shortest format, stymied by the need to play one aggressive albeit faulty shot too many.
But that even before Harmanpreet could unleash India’s weapon of choice over the White Ferns, someone like Suzie Bates was on her way back, meant that what was to follow for New Zealand was only going to be every bit more challenging than the original occasion.
Yadav came into the attack in the seventh over, and bowling in patches, with Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma, kept the run-chase under check.
But India’s foxy leg-break specialist unearthed a moment of gold on the first ball of the 9th over.
And perhaps on a delivery that the most dangerous batter in the contest- easily more destructive by the worth of runs and weight of experience than Smriti or Harman- would’ve put outside the park on eight on ten occasions.
Yet, Sophie Devine somehow found a way to offer catching practice to Radha Yadav, stationed on point on a full-toss by Poonam that had beckoned a four, if not a six, let alone a wicket, the biggest of them all from India’s perspective.
That said, the context of the game changed, at the back of Poonam’s golden arm, albeit not on her best delivery.
But then, destiny favors the brave, right? And so was birthed one among many big moments during White Ferns vs India World Cup 2020 contest.

India’s under-appreciated lot of bowlers pace and spin team to victory

White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020
In a country crazed by cricketers, fans often turn a blind eye- it must be said- on those who continue to persist quietly, hardly unfazed about a lack of recognition that may continually be showered on more marketable and popular faces.
While you may absolutely disagree with the notion, what will be tough to ignore would be the excellent returns of Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Shikha Pandey, two of India’s most successful bowlers, who jeopardized New Zealand’s scoring on a day where Poonam, despite getting the mighty Devine went for one run too many.
Picking up key wickets of the destructive top-order batswoman Rachael Priest and ending with the most economical spell for India, Shikha Pandey ensured India held the early advantage, as the White Ferns lost their belligerent right-hander in just the second over.
That it wasn’t just any batter, rather someone who’d got 819 runs (prior to Melbourne’s Feb 27 contest), struck 1 fifty and maintained a career strike rate of 105 explained how big a wicket was Priest’s to Pandey’s India.
That Goa’s finest export to the annals of Indian bowling did well enough right in the final over can be understood by the jaw-dropping 3-run win India edged out the White Ferns with ultimately.
But make no mistake. That wasn’t all. Big breakthroughs came at the back of perhaps an undersung Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who in her full quota of 4 overs, went for a little over 5 an over in conceding 22, whilst taking the big wicket of Maddy Green, among the Kiwis’s most experienced batters, someone who’s played in 2 previous T20 World Cups- 2012 and 2014- and struck the only six, a towering one at that, in New Zealand’s inning.
Then there was Deepti Sharma who sent Bates- the all-time highest T20 World cup run-maker- on her way back early into the innings, giving India an upper hand with which they’d constantly punch the White Ferns where it hurt the most.

Kerr’s All-Round Heroics Stand Out In White Ferns’s Defeat

White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020
A star with the ball in hand and a dasher with the bat, until the end, there was nothing that Amelia Kerr did wrong during White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020 game, which she’d turn into a contest, for her side that thanks to her mighty all-round show, came within the closest range of India’s low-scoring albeit tricky ask.
While most headlines would convey that White Ferns ended 3 shies of India’s ask of 134, the important thing is to wonder how did they reach there, having been reduced to 3-for-34, and not too late thereafter, 4 down for 77?
Could the Kiwis have come any closer to what had seemed a wild goose chase after losing two of their most potent batters- in Devine and Bates- even before approaching the half-way mark had it not been for this teenager’s sensational 34 from 19 (including 6 boundaries)?
Moreover, that Amelia Kerr kept her team interested in a contest where India’s spinners had made life difficult much before she’d even arrived to revive a fledgling run-chase wasn’t the only talking point during White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020 game.
Before producing stunning strokes during the tricky death overs, in an effort wherein she’d emerge unbeaten- the 19-year-old had captured 2 big wickets- of the capricious Veda down India’s order, and not to forget the dangerous Shafali Verma- in a brilliantly controlled spell of leg-spin.

Harmanpreet’s torrid run continues

White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 2020
Another game and yet another low turnout for the captain, someone who has as many as 2176 T20 runs, beautified by 6 fifties and 1 century in a format where often going past 1,000 T20 runs seems the first milestone and very much the last that talented batters contend with, in the end.
It wasn’t the worst day in the field for Harmanpreet Kaur- whose last formidable T20 outing came via her unbeaten 42 against England in the recent Tri-series for she ended on the right side of the result.
But while Harman the captain rejoiced- as she should have- in the company of her inspiring teammates, the batter within, the booming star that one has seen was nowhere in sight as yet another inning ended soon as it began, the right-hander walking back after scoring 1 off 5 against the troubling Kasperek’s off-break.
Was this a big moment during White Ferns vs India T20 World Cup 202? Do you bet?

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