England Women commenced their tour of India in style as they emerged victorious by beating the hosts by 38 runs at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday, December 6. Nat Sciver-Brunt delivered with the bat, while Sophie Ecclestone marked her return to the squad with a successful bowling spell.
With this result, India’s woeful T20I record against England continues as the hosts have lost 21 games against the English side. India has been a happy hunting ground for the Heather Knight-led team. This is their eighth win on Indian soil.
Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and sent England out to bat. The first over was calamitous for the visitors, with Renuka Singh Thakur being given the new ball and dismissing Sophia Dunkley. This was followed by Alex Capsey’s dismissal in the very next delivery. Thakur’s swing bowling was a menace to England batters in the earlier overs.
Danni Wyatt and Nat Sciver-Brunt were handed the responsibility of building England’s innings after a shaky start. The pair added a handful of runs to England’s tally, taking the team’s score to 44 runs in the powerplay. In the middle overs, they accelerated their innings and formed a productive partnership of 138 runs in 87 balls.
Wyatt’s 75 runs off 47 balls and Sciver-Brunt’s 77 runs off 53 balls, along with Amy Jones’ quickfire 23 runs off 9 balls gave England a solid total of 197 runs to defend. For India, Renuka Singh Thakur bagged three wickets with the economy of 6,75. Both the debutants managed to get their breakthroughs as Shreyanka Patil picked two wickets, while Saika Ishaque claimed one.
Indian Women had a huge total to chase. The opening pair comprising Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana started off well by registering 20 runs in the first two overs, before Mandhana got clean bowled by Nat Sciver-Brunt. Freya Kemp got the better of Jemimah Rodrigues, but turned out to be the costliest English bowler, courtesy of Shafali Verma and Harmanpreet Kaur’s boundaries.
England’s spinners dominated Indian batters most of the time during the middle overs. Apart from a couple of boundaries here and there, Verma and the Indian skipper were unable to get runs for Team India. World number one bowler Sophie Ecclestone dismissed Harmanpreet at 26 runs after bowling a plethora of dot balls to her and building up pressure.
Leg-spinner Sarah Glenn continued to create pressure on Indian batters with her consistent speed and line and length. She took Richa Ghosh’s wicket who had previously hit her for a four and a six. In the midst of all the chaos in the Indian batting order, Shafali Verma hit a half-century before Ecclestone returned to the bowling attack and sent her back to the pavilion. Kanika Ahuja also lost her wicket to her in the process.
Ecclestone made her presence felt by finishing the game with the best bowling figures. She recovered from her right shoulder injury and made a comeback like she never left. The left arm spinner took three wickets and conceded just 15 runs in her four-over spell.
India fell short by 38 runs, managing to put only 159 runs to the scoreboard. Nat Sciver-Brunt was awarded the Player of the Match for her commendable batting effort (77 off 53 balls) and also performing with the ball (1-35 in four overs).
Both the sides will face each other again in the second T20I on Saturday, December 9, at the same venue.
Brief Scores: England 197-6 in 20 overs (Nat Sciver-Brunt 77, Danni Wyatt 75; Renuka Singh Thakur 3-27) beat India 159-6 (Shafali Verma 52, Harmanpreet Kaur 26; Sophie Ecclestone 3-15) by 38 runs. POTM: Nat Sciver-Brunt