India's top five performers in the Women's T20 World Cup

Shafali Verma's power hitting, Poonam Yadav's loopy deliveries, and more...here are the best Indian performances at the Women's T20 World Cup.

India opener Shafali Verma in action at the ICC Women's World T20.   -  PTI

After winning all of its four group matches, India was through to its first-ever T20 World Cup final after the semifinal against England was washed out without a ball being bowled. Despite a few wobbles in batting, India has had a bunch of inspired performances which put Harmanpreet Kaur's side one step away from glory.

Here we look at the best performers that paved the way for India's unbeaten run into the final.

Shafali Verma

Indian opener Shafali Verma has moved up to the No 1 spot in the women's T20I batting rankings.

Indian opener Shafali Verma has moved up to the No 1 spot in the women's T20I batting rankings.   -  PTI

 

India's batting performances have been far from convincing during the course of the tournament, but 16-year old Shafali Verma's exploits at the top made sure there were always enough runs to defend. The opener has been the standout performer for India with scores of 29, 39, 46 and 47.

Her fearless approach in taking on the best in the world often helped India to blazing starts and managed to push the bowlers on the back-foot in the matches where she got out inside the PowerPlay. The teenager has been merciless at anything full and is strong on the front foot against the spinners. Keeping her quiet will be a big task for Australia in the final as she looks to add to her total of 171 runs from four matches.

Deepti Sharma

Deepti Sharma's 49 off 46 runs proved crucial as India defended a total of 133 against defending champion Australia.   -  getty images

 

The  opening match against holder Australia was a make-or-break fixture for India. Aussie skipper Meg Lanning chose to chase after winning the toss as India got off to a rollicking start at 40 for 0 in four overs. However, early gallop came to a screeching halt when Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana and captain Harmanpreet Kaur departed in consecutive overs leaving India at 49 for 3 after seven overs.

With the ball skidding off the surface, Deepti Sharma, alongside Jemimah Rodrigues, found it difficult to play shots as India went without a boundary for five overs. Deepti kept waiting for the right moment as she kept the scoreboard ticking by running ones and twos. She struck India's first boundary in 33 balls and took 15 off Jess Jonassen's 17th over as India crossed the 100-run mark. Deepti, alongside Veda Krishnamurthy, pushed the ball into gaps while dealing with the awkward bounce and added 17 valuable runs in the final three overs as India finished on 132 for 4 in 20 overs.

Those 17 runs proved to be difference as India successfully defended a low total and Deepti's 49 off 46 balls on a tricky pitch was gold dust.

Poonam Yadav

Poonam Yadav's (Left) stunning spell 4-19 set up a 17-run victory over Australia in the opening match.   -  ap

 

Indian women's cricket team began the Women's T20 World Cup with a stunning 17-run victory over defending champion Australia thanks to a brilliant bowling performance from Poonam Yadav. On a slow Sydney wicket, India reached 132 for 4 in 20 overs after Deepti Sharma's 49 off 46 balls and which seemed like a small target for a formidable Australian batting line-up.

Alyssa Healy looked in fine touch, scoring boundaries at will, and looked poised for a big innings despite losing opening partner Beth Mooney.

ALSO READ | AUS v IND: All you need to know

Harmanpreet Kaur threw the ball to Poonam Yadav, who got hit for a six by Healy in the 10th over but foxed the keeper-batter for an easy return catch to trigger an Australian collapse. Yadav then dismissed Rachael Haynes and Jess Jonassen off consecutive deliveries in her next over. Indian wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia couldn't hold on to an edge offered by Jess Jonassen off the hat-trick ball but made up for it when she lapped up an edge off Yadav's next over.

ALSO READ | Road to the final

A couple of runouts in the final overs made sure Australia was skittled out 17 runs short off the target. Yadav finished the match with 4 for 19 and set the tone for India's unbeaten run in the tournament.

Yadav followed it up with three for 18 against Bangladesh and despite leaking 18 runs in one over against New Zealand, she recovered with an economical spell of 1 for 20 against Sri Lanka.

Shikha Pandey

Shikha Pandey's composure in the final over against New Zealand won India the match.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Pacer Shikha Pandey has been one of the most consistent performers for the Indian bowling attack which has heavily relied on spin. Pandey has claimed seven wickets from five matches with an impressive economy of 5.59. Her standout performance came in the final over against New Zealand.

With 40 runs needed off the final three overs, Amelia Kerr smashed Poonam Yadav's penultimate over for 18 runs which left India with 16 runs to defend in the final over. Harmanpreet trusted Shikha Pandey, India's most economical bowler on the day, to finish the job. The pacer kept it at yorker length and was unlucky when the first ball missed Hayley Jensen's stumps and ran away for a four. She kept firing the ball into the blockhole and gave away three singles off the next three balls.

Pandey showed ice-cold nerves after being hit for a four off the penultimate ball when she spotted Kerr moving across the off-stump and got her delivery to sneak under the batter's pads. The pacer ran across the pitch and got Jensen run out as India became the first team to qualify for the semis.

Radha Yadav

Radha Yadav celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Chamari Athapaththu during the Women's T20 World Cup match against Saturday.   -  afp

 

Sri Lanka's exit from the T20 World Cup had been confirmed and it intended to go all out against an unbeaten Indian side when skipper Chamari Athapaththu chose to bat after winning the toss. Athapaththu looked comfortable with 33 off 24 at the crease as Sri Lanka registered a positive start — 42 for 1 after seven overs. The Islanders' hopes were short-lived when left-armer Radha Yadav was introduced into the attack.

She lured Athapaththu into an audacious pull shot which went straight to Shikha Pandey at deep square-leg and triggered the batting collapse. Radha then got a thick edge off Hasini Perera with a looping delivery for a keeper catch and Hansima Karunaratne caught at the long-on fence. Sri Lanka's momentum was broken by the 16th over and Radha piled on more misery when she trapped Anushka Sanjeewani plumb to reduce Sri Lanka to 80 for 7. The Lankans hobbled to a 113 for 9 as India chased down the target with 32 balls to spare.

  Dugout videos