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Shafali Verma’s 34-ball 46 helped India earn a place in the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup they secured a narrow four-run win over New Zealand in a group A match on Thursday.

Put in to bat, India posted a below-par total of 133 for eight against with Shafali top-scoring with a 34-ball 46 while Taniya Bhatia chipping in with a 25-ball 23.

India were well backed by the disciplined bowlers who restricted New Zealand to 129 for six and registered their third successive win in the tournament.

With the win, India topped Group A, having beaten Australia and Bangladesh in their last two matches.

Defending the partly total, India tried to bring in the spin-attack from the start but Deepti Sharma leaked 12 runs with opener Rachel Priest (12) hitting her for two boundaries.

But then experienced pacer Shikha Pandey removed Priest in the next over when she had her caught at mid wicket.

Back into the attack in the final over of powerplay, Deepti cleaned up Suzie Bates with a beautiful delivery as New Zealand slipped to 30 for two.

After slow batting in the middle overs, Amelia Kerr (34) charged in the penultimate over hitting four boundaries to accumulate 18 runs and bring the equation down to 16 off six balls.

In the final over, Heyley Jensen (11) and Kerr cracked a four each but Shikha held her nerves in the end to complete the win.

16-year-old Shafali provided the fireworks as India scored 49 for one in the powerplay overs. But they lost six wickets for 43 runs to give away the good start.

Shafali hit four boundaries and three maximums in her innings.

later on, Radha Yadav blasted 14 off nine balls, which included a six in the final over, to give some respectability to the total.

Brief Score: India women: 133 for 8 in 20 overs (Shafali Verma 46; Amelia Kerr 2/21).

New Zealand women: 129 for six in 20 overs (Amelia Kerr 34 not out; Shikha Pandey 1/21).

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