After failing in the test format the Indian Women Cricket team was aiming to turn the table in the One-day format. Chasing 202, and their 100th ODI win at home, England surpassed the opposition’s powerplay score in just 5.1 overs, their tally in the first ten overs 61 for the loss of one wicket.
The English women won the toss and elected to bowl first. Under overcast, windy conditions, on a fresh pitch with decent carry and movement that changed little as the match progressed.
Five-over opening spells in the powerplay denied India any room to make an early imprint on the proceedings. In an exemplary display of discipline and reliance on scrambled-seam variations, the fast-bowling tandem parched India of scoring opportunities.
Cricket: Indian women vs England women
Debutant Shafali Verma, who, at 17 years and 150 days old, became the youngest player – male or female – to represent India in all formats of the game, fell to a failed pull while backing away to a Brunt offcutting bouncer.
In keeping with the overarching trend of sluggish scoring that underpinned India’s innings, Punam Raut too failed to inject any urgency to their approach. First-change Sciver, who finished wicketless, conceded two fours in her second over, both to Raut’s front-foot punches.
She struck a further two fours in her 61-ball 32 before her 56-run, 96-ball third-wicket stands with Mithali Raj ended with Ecclestone catching Raut off Cross at mid-off. Harmanpreet Kaur was the next to depart, attempting to guide an Ecclestone arm ball towards the third man, the India vice-captain’s back-foot stroke ended up offering the slightest of edges to wicketkeeper Amy Jones.
The Indian Women somehow managed to crawl up to 100 in 31.5 overs after Deepti Sharma joined Raj in the middle and reinstated the left-right combination. Being the most senior player on the team, Mithali Raj took the charge and remained the highest runscorer for India, her 108-ball 72 proved pivotal in India’s pursuit of a respectable score. In the end, 201 proved far from adequate to challenge the defending ODI world champions.
Leading the charge in England’s pursuit was opener Beaumont, who remained unbeaten on 87. She spearheaded the chase with two fifty-plus partnerships – for the second and third wickets – worth 59 and 119 with Heather Knight and Sciver respectively. Sciver was also unbeaten, on 74.
Beaumont blunted India’s three-pronged spin attack with nimble footwork down the track, powerful drives on the off side, and copious use of the sweep shot. She reached her fifty, 13th in the format, brooming an innocuous offspinning delivery from Deepti Sharma past a diving Harmanpreet Kaur at deep square. A glorious inside-out lofted drive for four was the highlight in Beaumont’s gallery of pristine strokes that featured 12 fours and a six.
Her six off Kaur to level the scores off the penultimate ball of the match was equally emphatic.After Ekta Bisht provided the second breakthrough, taking the top of the off stump of Knight, who made a 30-ball 18 in what was her 50th ODI appearance as England captain, Sciver joined in the fun.
India’s six-bowler attack looked far from threatening, as did their field placements and the fielding itself, and at no point did the visitors force errors off Beaumont or Sciver in a sustained manner.
Carting 10 fours and a six in her run-a-ball knock, Sciver took Bisht for the most runs among India’s bowlers. The second free hit she swatted off seamer Shikha Pandey’s back-to-back front-foot no-balls in her fifth over was the pick of Sciver’s boundaries and it helped England near the 150-mark. Her offensive in Beaumont’s company ensured debutant Sophia Dunkley had to wait longer for her maiden ODI innings.