Sundar Smriti Mandhana once again extended her reputation as one of India’s biggest match winners with a lucrative 91 as they thrashed England by seven wickets in the opening women’s ODI here on Sunday. Harmanpreet Kaur won a fine toss and veteran India pacer Jhulan Goswami identified accuracy with 42 dot balls in one of her last international games as England posted 227 for seven thanks to lower middle-order efforts . Mandhana (91 off 99 balls) never troubled India during the chase and pulled her way before missing out on her sixth women’s ODI century by nine runs.
But by the time she was dismissed, Mandhana ensured the 45th over for the Women in Blue, who are now 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Yastika Bhatia (50 off 47 balls), who didn’t do justice to her immense talent, also scored her third half-century and scored more runs than the run-a-ball strike-rate.
Yastika-Mandhana’s 96-run partnership in just 16.1 overs for the second wicket laid the foundation and then Harmanpreet (74 not out from 94 balls) scored another half-century as she added 99 runs with her deputy and then finished it in style . Slog Sweep Six.
Mandhana’s innings included 10 fours and a lovely six off long-on pacer Issie Wong.
While both Yastika and Mandhana performed brilliantly through cover during the powerplay, the Indian vice-captain also played a lot of pull-shots, with the English bowler going down the leg-side.
It must be said that Harmanpreet read the conditions at Hove’s County Ground better than her England counterpart Amy Jones.
While Indian spinners Rajeshwari Gaikwad and Deepti Sharma changed their ball pace to make strokeplay difficult, England seamers Kate Cross (2/43 in 10 overs), Ellis Davidson-Jones (0/48 in 7.2 overs), Wong (0/35 in (5 ov)) along with off-spinner Charlie Dean (1/4 in 10 overs) allowed the visiting batsmen to use the pace of his delivery to score runs behind the square.
India hit 13 fours and a six (by Yastika) in the first 15 overs and it was all over for England.
Earlier, the 39-year-old veteran Goswami had conceded only 20 runs in 10 overs with 42 dot balls.
He did not hit a single boundary or six and also bowled a decent off-cutter to get rid of the experienced Tammy Beaumont (7).
On a track where the ball was not always hitting the bat, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur did the right thing by choosing to field.
After the seamer, Meghna Singh (1/42 in 8 overs) hit the second opener Emma Lamb (12) with a short ball, Goswami and two spinners Deepti (2/33 in 10 overs) and Gaikwad (1/4 in 10 overs) out. Run flow suppressed continuously.
However, Meghna along with Sneh Rana (1/45 in 6 overs) and Pooja Vastrakar (0/20 in 2 overs) scored some runs as the home team posted 220-plus in the end.
Danny Wyatt (43 off 50 balls), Ellis Davidson-Richards (50 not out off 61 balls) and Sophie Ecclestone (31) made remarkable contributions for England.
Even Charlie Dean played a nice cameo in the end (24 not out off 21 balls) to complete the target.
Harmanpreet will be a little disappointed that despite bringing England to the mat at 128 for 6 by the 34th over, the England numbers 7, 8 and 9 gave the total some respect by adding more than 100 runs.
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