India pip New Zealand to reach T20 semis
Melbourne: Teenage prodigy Shafali Verma helped India earn a nail-biting win over New Zealand Thursday and reach the women's Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals, as defending champions Australia inched closer to joining them.
New Zealand won the toss at Melbourne's Junction Oval and opted to bowl, restricting India to 133 for eight after 16-year-old Verma gave them a strong start with three sixes and four fours in a quickfire 46.
But they failed with the bat, narrowly missing their target despite a swashbuckling late charge by Amelia Kerr, leaving them on 129 for six.
"It's a great feeling when your team performs day in day out," said skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, after India become the first team into the last four.
"But we still made the same mistakes after a good first 10 overs -- we got a good start but couldn't carry the momentum. We can't make silly mistakes with harder games coming up."
After opening their campaign by upsetting four-time champions Australia, India beat Bangladesh, and their New Zealand victory made it three from three to ensure a semi-final berth for the second successive tournament.
They still need to play Sri Lanka in Group B, with the top two from each of the two five-team groups qualifying for the knockout phase.
Two-time finalists New Zealand are now 1-1 from their two games, with Australia two from three after crushing Bangladesh in Canberra by 86 runs, with Alyssa Healy cracking 83 and Beth Moody 81 in an imposing 189 for one -- the highest total of the World Cup so far.
New Zealand play Bangladesh next and should they win will set up a crunch clash against Australia on Monday to determine who joins India in the semi-finals from their side of the draw. - AFP