Another half century from Mithali Raj ensured India thrashed Ireland by 52 runs in their first ever encounter at the Providence stadium to book their spot yesterday in the semifinals of the ICC T20 World Cup.
In overcast conditions, spectators witnessed Ireland winning the toss and sending India into bat The Asian powerhouse rattled up 145-6 and restricted Ireland to 93-8 as the overs ran out.
India’s opening pair of Smriti Mandhana and player of the match, Raj got their team off to a good start, taking 42 runs from the power play with a bit of luck as Raj was dropped on three by Lara Maritz at square leg in the third over.
The duo powered their way to their fifth half century stand in the format with Mandhana pounding a six over long on.
However, Ireland broke the partnership when Mandhana was bowled by Kim Garth with the final delivery of the 10th over beating the outside edge of the blade and disrupting the stumps to send the vice captain on her way for 33 from 29 balls with four fours and one six. India stood at 67-1 at the halfway mark.
Jemimah Rodrigues looked dangerous but was drawn out of her crease to a wide delivery from Laura Delany only for Mary Waldron behind the stumps to execute a simple stumping to send her on her way for 18 from 11 balls.
Raj carried on to follow up her half century against Pakistan with 51 from 56 balls built on four fours and one six. The captain of the one day international side was also fortunate as Garth misjudged a catch as she stepped back from cover with the sun in her eyes to put down Raj on 39. Garth would however, have her revenge as Raj edged to the wicket keeper and walked.
Ireland contained the intimidating middle order with the skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur, Vida Krishnamurthy and Dayalan Hemlatha falling cheaply.
Ireland began their chase in confident fashion with the first pair putting on 27 before Gaby Lewis was bowled by off break bowler, Deepti Sharma with the first ball of the sixth over that spun back past the weak defence of Lewis between bat and pad to clip the top of the stumps. Lewis made nine from 19 balls while her side tallied 30-1 from their six overs of power play.
Clare Shillington flowed brilliantly and smacked her third boundary, this time through deep mid wicket and cemented her name as the first Irish woman to 1000 runs in T20I.
After another partnership looked promising, Ireland lost Shillington in the ninth over after she was stumped by Taniya Bhatia for 23 from the same amount of deliveries after being deceived by the fight of leg break bowler, Poonam Yadav. The Irish slipped to 43-2 after 10 overs.
However, Delany was induced into a big heave and Bhatia perfected another stumping, this time off the bowling of Radha Yadav to break the 28-run partnership.
Sharma picked up her second wicket after Shauna Kavanagh stepping across was struck on the pads, but originally given not out. This prompted India to go for the review which overturned the decision.
The Indian captain, in her first bowling innings of the tournament accounted for Joyce who seemed settled but was undone with the turn, top edging Kaur to Poonam Yadav for 33.
A horrid 19th over, which saw three wickets falling was enough to end Ireland’s hopes of qualifying and condemn the side to their third loss while India progressed alongside Australia.
India and Australia will now face off to see who finishes at the top of the group.