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Smriti Mandhana and Sneh Rana shone as India defeated England by 4 runs to reach the final. MPNRC News

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The Indian women’s cricket team held their nerve and managed to beat England by four runs to enter the finals of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. In a thrilling semi-final, England needed 14 runs off the final over, but Sneh Rana finished the visitors’ job and secured them at least a silver medal in Birmingham. In reply to India’s 164/5, the hosts managed to score 160 for 6 in 20 overs.

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Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur made a bold call by preferring Rana over the in-form Renuka Singh to bowl tough overs and the offspinner did not disappoint her skipper one bit. Rana conceded just three runs in the 18th over which swung the momentum completely in India’s favour. All-rounder Pooja Vastrakar also did well in the penultimate over as England lost the crucial wicket of their skipper Natalie Sciver in a run-out as the pressure mounted on the hosts to score quick runs.

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India were penalized for a slow overrate and allowed only three fielders outside the circle in the last over, with Harmanpreet opting to pull all three to the leg-side. Rana was too good for England’s lower middle order and she also dismissed Catherine Brunt to send the hosts into a tizzy in the 20th over.

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Jemima Rodriguez’s useful unbeaten 44 along with Smriti Mandhana’s charming yet ferocious knock of 61 saw India reach 164 for 5.

Mandhana’s 32-ball strike in the Powerplay set the stage while Rodriguez, who is finally doing justice to her immense potential, improved well at the crease during his 31-ball unbeaten run.

On her way to the innings, Mandhana also registered the fastest T20 international fifty in women’s cricket in just 23 balls.

A new and improved Deepti Sharma scored 22 off 20 balls but India will feel 15 runs short of the par-score after 64 in six powerplay overs.

100 in the next 14 overs as India lost momentum with three successive wickets in the middle overs.

Rodrigues and Deepti shared a valuable partnership of 53 runs for the fourth wicket.

Rodrigues put his foot on the accelerator in the slog overs and scored some quick runs to take India to a fighting total.

India will now face either Australia or New Zealand in the gold medal clash on Sunday while England will now advance to the bronze medal match on the same day.

Summary Score:

India: 164 for 5 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 61; Freya Kemp 2/22)

England: 160 for 6 in 20 overs (Natalie Siver 41; Sneh Rana 2/28).

(with PTI input)

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