Smriti, bowlers set up India’s win over England in final T20 tie | Cricket

It was a dead rubber, but India women put up a determined performance in the field to defeat England by five wickets in the third T20 International at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday. Despite losing the second T20I a day earlier after being dismissed for 80 runs, Harmanpreet Kaur and Co held their nerves while batting to avoid conceding a series sweep. England won the series 2-1.

Mumbai: India’s Smriti Mandhana plays a shot during the 3rd T20I cricket match between India and England, at Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai(PTI)

Opting to bat, England were bowled out for 126 off the last ball of the innings after a half-century by skipper Heather Knight. In reply, India rode on a run-a-ball 48 by opener Smriti Mandhana to complete the chase in 19 overs.

Stay tuned with breaking news on HT Channel on Facebook. Join Now

India lost the wicket of Shafali Verma early in the chase, with the batter shuffling too far and playing a nothing shot to be bowled by Freya Kemp. Smriti and Jemimah Rodrigues (29 off 33 balls) got together to add a match-winning partnership of 57 runs for the second wicket. Both batters did especially well to hit 19 runs off the first two overs of Sophie Ecclestone, England’s most accomplished bowler.

India got two more important partnerships as Smriti added 26 runs with Deepti Sharma and then 18 with Harmanpreet. The India captain had twisted her ankle while fielding and came into bat at No.5, one spot lower than usual.

England fought back as Smriti and Richa Ghosh fell in quick succession, but young Amanjot Kaur, who had replaced Pooja Vastrakar in India’s line-up, walked to the crease with supreme confidence and hit Ecclestone for three fours in the 19th over to close out the match.

Earlier, it was the bowlers who stepped up on a batting-friendly pitch to set up the win for India. They looked rusty in the first game but displayed character to pick six wickets while defending just 80 runs in the second. This time, they made further progress by delivering as a unit.

In terms of fielding too, the hosts showed marked improvement. They seemed to be all over the place in the opener but took all the six catches that came their way this time, with Jemimah, Shreyanka Patil Amanjot leading the way.

Once again, it was Renuka Singh who did the early damage. Making a comeback to competitive cricket after nine months, on the back of a forgettable WPL campaign and a long injury layoff, the 27-year-old took two wickets in the powerplay for the third time in the series.

Shreyanka and Saika Ishaque were the most successful bowlers on the night. Both spinners had made their T20I debuts with the first game of the series and did exceedingly well to return figures of 3/19 and 3/22 respectively. Medium-pacer Amanjot chipped in with an important spell of 2/25.

England had made wholesale changes to their playing XI, bringing in Maia Bouchier, Danielle Gibson, Bess Heath and Mahika Gaur for Sarah Glenn, Natalie Sciver-Brunt, Danielle Wyatt and Lauren Bell. And the young line-up was under the pump for most of the innings.

After Alice Capsey was dismissed cheaply again, England got a 41-run partnership thanks to Heather and keeper-batter Amy Jones. But what followed was a dramatic collapse as India bagged five wickets for nine runs. At 76/8 in the 15th over, there was a sense of déjà vu and it seemed England would suffer the fate India did the previous night.

However, Heather led from the front thereafter to take her team to a respectable total. The 32-year-old, who had scores of 6 and 7* in the first two games, was batting on 20 off 25 balls at one stage. But she showed her class eventually and hit three fours and as many sixes to finish with a 42-ball 52. Her 50-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Charlie Dean (16*) gave England some much-needed momentum, but it didn’t prove to be enough in the end.

Brief scores: England 126 (Heather Knight 52, Renuka Singh 2/23, Shaika Ishaque 3/22, Shreyanka Patil 3/19); India 130/5 in 19 overs (Smriti Mandhana 48, Jemimah Rodrigues 29, Freya Kemp 2/24, Sophie Ecclestone 2/43). India won by 5 wickets

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *