Women's World Twenty20: India beat Ireland to reach semi-finals
|ICC Women's World Twenty20, Guyana|
|India 145-6 (20 overs): Raj 51, Garth 2-22|
|Ireland 93-8 (20 overs): Joyce 33, Poonam Yadav 3-25|
|India won by 52 runs|
India secured their place in the Women's World T20 semi-finals with a 52-run win over Ireland in Guyana.
Mithali Raj, dropped on three and 39, hit four fours and a six in a stylish 51 but Ireland's bowlers stuck to their task well to restrict India to 145-6.
But only two players reached double figures as Ireland closed on 93-8 as they remained winless from three games.
India face the other unbeaten side in Group B, Australia, on Saturday to determine who will finish top.
Prior to this match the concern over the weather had focused on St Lucia, where the Group A matches are taking place, but some torrential morning rain left the groundstaff with much to do and it was to their credit that there was only a minimal delay to the start and no overs were lost.
Raj, reprieved by a routine drop by Lara Maritz at square-leg in the third over, carved consecutive boundaries as 15 came from Maritz's first over to help them to 42-0 after the powerplay.
Talented 18-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues struck boundaries in three successive overs before she was stumped off a wide in the 15th over.
That brought in India captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who launched eight sixes in her 103 against New Zealand in the opening match, and although she hit her second ball for six, her third was superbly caught on the cover boundary by Shauna Kavanagh.
Ireland had not scored more than 101 before in the tournament and although the consistent Clare Shillington gave them a solid start and passed 1,000 T20 runs with a second successive score in the 20s, she was deceived in the flight by a sharply spinning leg break from Poonam Yadav and comfortably stumped in the ninth over.
Isobel Joyce hit four of the eight boundaries in the innings in her 33 but the required rate gradually began to increase against a spin-dominant attack.
Three wickets fell in as many deliveries in the penultimate over as India recorded their seventh successive win in completed matches since their surprise Asia Cup final defeat against Bangladesh in June.
'Players around the world have been very supportive'
Ireland captain Laura Delany: "We were superb in the first innings. A couple of chances went down but to keep them to 145 when they made 195 against New Zealand was excellent.
"We were much sharper in the field today, but our batting has been exposed to a higher level of bowling attack and we're still trying to find the right way with our batting order.
"Players around the world and people back home have been very supportive towards us over the last few days, we're very grateful to them all."
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur: "I am happy we qualified but there are still a lot of areas we have to improve. We have to be aggressive in the field and in batting we need to improve. Today we didn't bat according to our plans. If you want to win against Australia you have to be aggressive, both in batting and bowling."
World Twenty20 winner Lydia Greenway on BBC Test Match Special: "I've seen an improvement from Ireland from their previous game - the bowling, particularly towards the end of the innings with the yorkers and cutters.
"The standout batter for me was Isobel Joyce with the way she moved about her crease and scored boundaries - and Clare Shillington played with the sort of intent it'd be great if they all played with."
White Ferns end losing run
Meanwhile in the later match at the same venue, two-time finalists New Zealand recorded their first Group B victory with a 54-run win over Pakistan to end a seven-game losing run in the T20 format.
The top four all made runs for New Zealand, Suzie Bates top-scoring with 35 and moving to second in this year's tournament leading runscorer list, and despite losing three wickets in as many balls late in their innings, they posted 144-6.
Pakistan raced to 31-0 after three overs in reply but lost a cluster of wickets in quick succession, captain Javeria Khan an important loss for 36 in the eighth over, spinners Jess Watkin and Amelia Kerr taking 3-9 and 3-21 respectively as they were all out for 90.
It left both teams on two points, with the Kiwis, who lost in the semi-finals to West Indies two years ago, moving above Pakistan into third place on net run-rate.
|ICC Women's World Twenty20|
|Venues: Guyana, St Lucia, Antigua Dates: 9-24 November|
|Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary and in-play video highlights on all games on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and via the BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on all England & Ireland games, plus selected other matches|