BIRMINGHAM: Smriti Mandhana inspired India to victory over England to qualify for the final of the Commonwealth Games 2022 on Saturday.
India won the toss and opted to bat first and produced a difficult 164-5, led by opener Smriti's 61 off 32 balls (including three sixes) and Jemimah Rodrigues' unbeaten 44. However, England were just short of four runs as they were bowled out for 160 in 20 overs.
Amy Jones and Captain Nat Sciver appeared to be guiding England toward victory, but Jones was run out for 31. Sciver, who needed runs, was also run out for 41 as England failed.
Dani Wyatt also scored 35 runs before getting out by spinner Sneh Rana.
For India, Sneh claimed two wickets while Deepti Sharma took a single scalp.
Earlier, Mandhana quickly reached her half-century off 23 balls by clubbing eight fours and two sixes. She established the tone with five boundaries in the first three overs.
To stop the run-flow, Sciver changed bowlers, and it was the seventh bowler who made the breakthrough in the eighth over.
With the total at 76, left-arm seamer Freya Kemp dismissed Shafali Verma for 15, but they really needed Mandhana's wicket.
One run later, the left-hander made it happen by chipping Sciver's slower ball to Issy Wong for an easy catch.
However, Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma kept up the pressure, putting on 53 runs for the fourth wicket, with Rodrigues scoring 44 runs off 31 balls after wicketkeeper Jones should have stumped him at 15.
For England, Kemp claimed two wickets while Katherine Brunt and Sciver claimed a wicket each.
In the final on Sunday, India will take against either Australia or New Zealand, with England competing for bronze against the victor.