Women’s World T20 wrap: India, Australia cement top spots

After rain prevented play in St Lucia on Saturday, the sun baked down in Guyana on Sunday as India and Australia both cemented their places at the top of Group B in the Women’s World T20.

India secured a seven-wicket win against neighbours Pakistan at the Guyana National Stadium on the back of a serene half century from Mithali Raj, who returned to the top of the order.

Mithali scored 56 off 47 balls and took her side to within eight runs of Pakistan’s total of 133 for seven before she was dismissed.

Pakistan rode their luck while posting their highest ever total against India, on the back of half-centuries from Bismah Mahroof (53) and Nida Dar (52).

Both benefitted from the four catches that India dropped, and put on a 94-run partnership off just 71 balls for the fourth wicket. That stand rescued Pakistan from 30 for three, although their eventual score of 133 for seven proved insufficient.

India were awarded 10 runs to their total even before they faced a ball, as Pakistan were penalised for their batters running on the pitch repeatedly.

Pakistan were given two unofficial warnings before an official one and then the first penalty of five runs, which was again followed by a penalty of five runs for another infringement.

Mithali and Smriti Mandhana capitalised on that with a 73-run opening partnership, which India’s top order built on to secure the seven-wicket win. In the process, Mithali became the third batter to score more than 500 T20I runs in this calendar year.

Scores in brief:

Pakistan: 133-7, 20 overs (Bisman Mahroof 53, Nida Dar 52; Poonam Yadav 2-22, Dayalan Hemalatha 2-34)

India: 137-3, 19 overs (Mithali Raj 56, Smriti Mandhana 26)

Australia vs Ireland

In the second game at the same venue, Australia earned themselves an early night by chasing Ireland’s total within 10 overs, riding on an onslaught from Alyssa Healy who scored the fastest fifty in Women’s World T20 history, and the second fastest in all T20Is.

Chasing Ireland’s 93 for six, Australia raced to their target in just over nine overs to secure a nine-wicket win.

Most of the sprinting was done by Healy, who hit the fastest half-century in the tournament’s history, reaching the mark off just 21 balls.

She finished with 56 off 31, with nine fours and a six, also becoming the third wicketkeeper to score more than 1000 T20I runs.

Earlier, Ireland had won the toss and batted, and had two major partnerships: 27 at the top and 41 for the sixth wicket, but precious little in between.

After the opening stand, they lost five wickets for 16 runs, before captain Laura Delany (14 not out) and Kim Garth (24) gave them something to bowl at.

But their batters were penalised once for running on the pitch, giving Australia a five run advantage in their chase.

Before the game, Cricket Ireland congratulated Garth for playing 100 matches for her country across formats.

Scores in brief:

Ireland: 93-6, 20 overs (Kim Garth 24; Ellyse Perry 2-12)

Australia: 94-1, 9.1 overs (Alyssa Healy 56)