Women’s World Cup: Smriti, Harmanpreet hammer centuries in India’s 155-run thrashing of West Indies

Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur hammered centuries as India emerged triumphant over the West Indies by a huge margin of 155 runs in the third match of their campaign at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup at Seddon Park on Saturday.

While Smriti hit 123 runs in 119 balls, Harmanpreet slammed 109 in 107 balls apart from the 184-run partnership, rescuing India from 78/3.

The refreshing batting performance, led by Smriti and Harmanpreet helped India reach 317/8, their highest score in World Cups, including of the ongoing edition.

In reply, West Indies raced to 100 for no loss in just 12 overs, thanks to Deandra Dottin’s 62. But once she fell, the rest of the batting order couldn’t stand up to the scoreboard pressure and crumbled to 162 all out.

The 155-run win, coming 48 hours after a 62-run loss to New Zealand at the same venue, now puts India on top of the points table and gives their NRR a huge boost in the race to semifinals.

Mithali Raj’s decision to bat first on a used pitch was validated early on by Yastika Bhatia’s 21-ball 31. After getting her first boundary with an outside edge flying over slip, Yastika pulled Chinelle Henry thrice in the arc from deep mid-wicket to backward square leg.

Yastika continued to pull as Shamilia Connell was taken for fours through leg-side. Yastika’s knock came to an end when she chipped a cutter from Shakera Selman back to the bowler. Mithali’s promotion to three didn’t go well as she closed her bat face too early and chipped straight to mid-on off Hayley.

Deepti Sharma fell to Anisa Mohammed while trying to slog sweep and Hayley at first slip took a one-handed stunner to her right at slip. On the other hand, Smriti took her time before driving Shamilia through cover and lofting Hayley Matthews over mid-off. Harmanpreet began by using her feet against Anisa for two boundaries through off-side and began to rotate the strike with Smriti starting to get her groove.

The duo ran exceptionally between the wickets while rotating the strike and scoring delightful boundaries in between. Smriti brought up her fifty with a boundary clipped between mid-wicket and mid-on.

Harmanpreet brought out her sweep against Stafanie Taylor’s off-spin while Smriti thumped Shakera for a grand six down the ground. Harmanpreet then reached her fifty with a loft over long-off for four.

As Smriti and Harmanpreet’s partnership began to grow, West Indies began to fumble in the field. Misfields, dropped chances and missed run-outs began to creep in as Smriti got some luck on her side in nervous 90s. Smriti then reached her century with a pull through square leg off Hayley. Hayley came under further attack from Smriti as she slammed a hat-trick of boundaries.

Though Smriti found deep mid-wicket on the pull off Shamilia, Harmanpreet hit Dottin for a four and six and reached her century with a single through long-on. Harmanpreet fell in the 49th over as the outside edge on the paddle went to the ‘keeper. Pooja Vastrakar, Richa Ghosh and Jhulan Goswami fell in quick succession but India had crossed the 300-mark by then.

In reply, Deandra began by cracking two fours through cover and over slip off Meghna Singh. Jhulan Goswami teased her on the off-stump line but Deandra replied with successive boundaries over mid-wicket and extra cover.

From the other end, Hayley started with a drive in the gap between backward point and over off Meghna. Hayley then smacked a wayward Jhulan for a hat-trick of fours before Deandra hit two more fours in a row to take 21 runs off the over.

Hayley was given a reprieve at 23 when she was dropped by substitute fielder Taniya Bhatia. But Deandra continued to plunder boundaries, including a six over long-on off Deepti to reach her fifty in just 35 balls. Pooja and Rajeshwari Gayakwad were brought in but were unable to stop the boundary flow. Hayley’s drive off backfoot through cover brought the century of West Indies in just 12 overs.

From there, West Indies began to implode as Sneh Rana drew a top-edge from the slog-sweep of Deandra and was safely caught by short fine leg. A sustained pressure of dot balls resulted in Kycia Knight trying to pull Meghna but found fine leg. In her next over, Meghna got the big wicket of Stafanie, who nicked a shaping away delivery to keeper.

Sneh got one to turn and bounce away from Hayley, who looked to cut but edged behind to keeper. Pooja, returning for her second spell, got Shemaine Campbelle to slice straight to backward point. In the next over, Rajeshwari trapped Chinelle plumb lbw and effected the run-out of Aaliyah.

With Anisa flicking to a tumbling short mid-wicket, Jhulan grabbed her 40th scalp in World Cups and also became the leading wicket-taker in history of the tournament. Chedean Nation fell to a run-out from Deepti and Sneh finished off the match with a caught and bowled dismissal of Shamilia.

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