From L to R: Nat Sciver celebrates the dismissal of Smriti Mandhana; Smriti Mandhana celebrates scoring fifty runs and watches the ball after playing a shot during the T20 semifinal in Birmingham on Saturday. AP
India beat hosts England by just four runs to reach the final of the women's Twenty20 cricket competition at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday.
After posting 164-5 in the Twenty20 format, its biggest score in the tournament, India restricted previously unbeaten England to 160-6 at Edgbaston.
It is the first time women’s cricket has been played at the Games and backers are hopeful a successful tournament will lead to the sport’s inclusion at future Olympics.
Opener Smriti Mandhana starred for India, smashing 61 off just 32 balls, and Jemimah Rodrigues made an unbeaten 44 as they made a challenging 164-5 at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground.
England were in with a chance with captain Nat Sciver (41) and Amy Jones (31) at the crease but both were run out in the desperate scramble for runs. England finished on 160-6 off their 20 overs.
Sneh Rana runs out England's Alice Capsey during the women's T20 semifinal at Edgbaston in Birmingham. AP
England captain Nat Sciver, who has called for women’s cricket to be included in the Olympics, top-scored with 41 in her team's reply before being run out with less than two overs remaining.
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said: "I am really happy. Everyone is coming in and performing for the team. (The fans) were cheering until the last ball. It was a great opportunity for all the players to perform.”
India's Sneh Rana took 2-28 in her four overs while Deepti Sharma conceded just 18 runs in her spell.
More than 160,000 tickets were sold prior to the semi-final, a new record for a women’s cricket tournament, and another sizeable crowd attended Saturday's match.
India will face either Australia or New Zealand in Sunday's final, with England meeting the loser of that match for bronze.
India, leading 2-1 in the series, struggled to make runs and lost crucial wickets early in the day, including skipper Virat Kohli who failed to score. But Pant put on 113 for the seventh wicket with Sundar to hit back after the England bowlers reduced India to 146 for six at one stage.
"Virat Kohli is a good player and he has performed well against Pakistan. I have nothing against him but if Indians don't compare their players with Pakistan, then we shouldn't do that as well," he added.
Morgan has been ruled out after sustaining a split webbing between his thumb and index finger of the right hand during a 66-run defeat by India in Tuesday's series opener, an injury that required four stitches.
A strong Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club emerged the big winners, forcing Baniyas Jiu-Jitsu Club to settle for second and Al-Ain to take third.
Dubai Challenge Cup, the third tournament of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series, concluded with two exciting matches on the grounds of Al Habtoor Polo Club.
Mitchell Starc led an Australian fast-bowling demolition of India as the visitors won the second ODI by 10 wickets to level the three-match series on Sunday.