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England beat India to reach final

India's promising campaign comes to an end after an 8-wicket loss in the day-night semi-final in Antigua

England booked their place in the final of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018, with a convincing eight-wicket win against India, on a surface aiding turn at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. England made light work of what seemed like a tricky total to enter their fourth final in tournament history.

A match-winning third wicket partnership worth 92 between Natalie Sciver and Amy Jones saw England play the conditions better, after India came into the match as the in-form side, having remained unbeaten in the Group Stage.

England made a slightly nervy start in a chase of 112, losing both openers with 24 on the board. But then Jones and Sciver combined to ensure there were no further obstacles in the chase. Sciver, who scored 52 (40b, 5x4), was dropped on 2 in the seventh over, but after that looked in no discomfort. India’s set defensive fields and their bowlers bowled consistently short, taking a slow pitch out of the equation.

Amy Jones hit the only six of the innings on the way to her highest T20I score, an unbeaten 53 (45b, 3x4, 1x6) and was the more aggressive initially, batting on 15 off 11 when she was joined by Sciver in the fifth over. By the 11th over, Sciver had pulled ahead. She was extremely strong on the pull, bisecting the deep fielders on multiple occasions. 

The pair put on a 92 runs off just 74 balls, setting up a date with Ashes-rivals Australia on Saturday.

Earlier, Smriti Mandhana seemed to be batting on another pitch as compared to all the other Indian batters, as she rode her luck to a quick-fire 34 (23b, 5x4, 1x6). While most others struggled to time the ball, Mandhana’s looked fluent, picking her bowlers and her areas, becoming the second highest run scorer in the tournament on the way.

Mandhana was dropped on 13, and helped India to a 43-run opening partnership, which was then built on by Harmanpreet Kaur (16, 20b, 1x6) and Jemimah Rodrigues (26, 26b, 3x4). The pair took India to a position of seeming strength, at 93 for three after 15 overs.

From there, India lost five wickets for 11 runs to eventually collapse to 112 all out in the last over. The slide began when Kirstie Gordon took two wickets in the 16th over, including that of Harmanpreet. The new batters failed to negotiate the lack of pace, as three wickets fell to run-outs, and the rest to the England spinners, ensuring England had a chase-able total on their hands.

Brief Scores: England 116/2 (Natalie Sciver 54*, Amy Jones 51*) beat India 112 (Smriti Mandhana 34; Heather Knight 3/9) by eight wickets

Player of the Match: Amy Jones

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Hard work put in by all is paying off: Harmanpreet

As India get ready for the big semi-final against England, captain Harmanpreet Kaur in her interaction with the media said the team is fully prepared and ready to go.

On India’s unbeaten journey in the ICC Women’s World T20
Well, that's true. When we were coming here no one was sure about that we could qualify for the semi, I think. The credit goes to all team members and support staff that we worked hard with the last couple of months, I think. It's just because of their hard work we have reached here.

On the change in the mindset

I think the self-belief because I can give credit to Ramesh (Powar, coach)because the time he joined our team our mindset and approach has totally changed now. And I think now we have better plans and we can think bigger I think. Total credit goes to him.

On Mithali’s fitness
She's better now. She came yesterday for training also, but rest up tonight. I can say the physio can tell better - how she's feeling.

On playing England in the semi-final
We're taking another game like we played in the league games. I think the team is well prepared. Everyone is looking quite confident now. And it's just a matter of one more game now. I think we all are looking confident. I think we just need to focus what we have done well in the last league games and those things we need to just continue now.

On whether India watched clippings of the 50-over World Cup final where they lost to England?
I think we have watched a lot of times because I think that particular game we did a lot of mistakes. I think we just need to keep those things in the mind and learn from them.

And I think as a team I think we need to live in the present. At present we're doing really well, I think. Other than thinking about the past we just need to think what we need to do in the next game as a team.

On England too relying on spin
No doubt, Antigua, we had more on spin attack. And every team is depending on the spin attacking, I think. It just depends how you prepare and how you're approaching towards the wicket. I think the short form of the game. You don't need to think about, like, certain things. You just need to go and play your natural game, other than just thinking about how the wicket is behaving, how like the things are going. I think just need to think freely and just execute your plans.

On big crowd that is expected for the semi-final clash
I think it's good now people are coming and watching women's cricket. I think it's a positive sign. And we always love to play when a lot of crowds come and watch us. I think that's what we're expecting from the crowd, and I think it's a good thing. And we just need to enjoy that, that people are coming and watching us.

On India’s preparation as they play their first day-night game in the tournament
Here we got three practise sessions and we played one practise game. And I think it's just a matter of how early you can settle for the conditions and think of -- we did do the practise session and the girls are looking quite confident now and hopefully another day, like, we just stick to what we are doing in the past and just give our best on this team.

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