India Women 178 for 5 (Rodrigues 75*, Deepti 64, Gaur 1-27, Oza 1-27) beat UAE Women 74 for 4 (Egodage 30*, Gayakwad 2-20) by 104 runs
UAE struggled to gauge the pace of the surface and could only make 74 for 4 in the chase, as India rose to the top of the points table with their third consecutive victory.
Mughal, Gaur’s sterling start
India’s start was far from ideal after they rested regular captain Harmanpreet Kaur and opening batter Shafali Verma. Stand-in captain Smriti Mandhana did not open the innings with Sabbhineni Meghana, who had scored her maiden T20I half-century against Malaysia. Wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh was sent in to open but she fell for a first-ball duck, flicking an inswinging ball from seamer Chaya Mughal straight to backward square leg.
Taking the new ball from the other end, 16-year-old left-arm fast bowler Mahika Gaur had Meghana caught behind for 10 off 12 balls. The ball was not coming on to the bat and India had been reduced to 17 for 2 after four fours. It only got worse for them when Dayalan Hemalatha was run out after a mix-up with Deepti, who was sent in at No. 3. Mughal and Gaur bowled through the powerplay to leave India at 27 for 3.
Rodrigues, Deepti regain control
Rodrigues, who had made her career-best T20I score in India’s tournament opener, hit three successive fours off Mughal’s last over – the first after the fielding restrictions – to take 16 runs off it. The runs continued to flow as Rodrigues and Deepti found the gaps regularly.
Rodrigues took a liking to Khushi Sharma’s pace, hitting two fours in her second over before bringing up her second successive half-century. In the interim, Deepti had also scored her maiden T20I fifty via a heave over wide long-on. Deepti soon brought up the 100-run partnership, advancing down the track to place one into the cow corner boundary off legspinner Vaishnave Mahesh, who had impressed with a three-for against Sri Lanka.
India’s strong finish
With the platform set, Rodrigues smashed a hat-trick of fours off offspinner Suraksha Kotte, who had been brought on for the first time in the 18th over. Kotte, however, had Deepti caught at widish long-on by Gaur running to her left. A few lusty blows from Pooja Vastrakar, who came into the XI for Radha Yadav, and Kiran Navgire helped India score 43 in the last three overs.
India’s disciplined bowling
UAE opener Theertha Satish was run out in the very first over of the chase. Esha Oza played a wristy cover drive to get off the mark against Rajeshwari Gayakwad before the left-arm spinner had her caught at mid-off in the second over. Gayakwad struck again with the fifth ball of the over to remove Natasha Cherriath for a duck.
Kavisha Egodage and Khushi batted together for 94 balls for their 58-run partnership but never threatened to get close to the asking rate. Khushi had hit a few boundaries early in her innings but struggled to maintain the tempo before skying one off Hemalatha.
India bowled 76 dots in the UAR innings, which helped them secure a 104-run victory.
S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo