Chasing 135, England didn’t get off to a good start. Meghna Singh struck with her first ball of her spell in the second over of the innings. She bowled a beautiful delivery to Danielle Wyatt who failed to judge the bounce and the ball lobbed to first slip as Sneh Rana completed a good catch. In the very next over, Jhulan Goswami got one to come back into Tammy Beaumont, a delivery which hit her pads on the way to the bat. India reviewed and the England opener was adjudged out LBW.
At 4 for 2, England captain Heather Knight and vice-captain Natalie Sciver were in the middle and looked to turn things around. Knight wasn’t able to get going after hitting a superb cover drive off Singh. Sciver started off with a drive for a boundary as well and then pulled Goswami for another four in the same over to get the ball rolling.
Sciver then took on Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who was the first spinner to come into the attack, getting two fours in the process. She kept rotating the strike while Knight found it tough. At the ten over mark, England were 34 for 2 with Sciver going strong on 21 off 20 while Knight was nine off 27 balls.
Sciver then pulled Vastrakar for a four before hitting a couple of boundaries of Sneh Rana. However, after getting hit for another boundary, Vastrakar pulled her length back and Sciver got in an awkward position to pull, eventually top edging it. The catch was completed by Goswami and she was dismissed for 45.
That wicket opened up Knight in some ways as she managed to pick up her scoring rate. She reverse-swept Deepti Sharma for a four and then swept her once again the conventional way to get a move-on. Amy Jones, who walked in at no. 5 struggled and fought her bad form. After 24 overs, England were 95 for 3 with Jones battling on just four off 25 deliveries.
Jones went down the ground and smashed Rajeshwari Gayakwad for a six to break the shackles. She tried a similar shot but Harmanpreet Kaur pulled off a screamer at mid-on to dismiss her for ten. In the next few overs, Knight guided the side as she reached her first of fifty of the tournament. Sophia Dunkley hit a couple of boundaries off Singh to keep England on track.
Singh came back with a better over when she got Dunkley edged to the wicket-keeper Richa Ghosh. Katherine Brunt got a short ball from Singh and failed to pull it, only managing to top edge it to Ghosh. After a few nervous sighs, Sophie Ecclestone hit a boundary to finish the run chase.
Earlier in the day, Knight won the toss and elected to bowl first. Indian openers started off positively but Shrubsole got the early breakthrough of Yastika Bhatia after driven by Smriti Mandhana through the covers. The experienced pacer got one to nip back into Bhatia from length and caught her off a bit surprised on her feet. The wicket got her to the milestone of 100 ODI wickets.
In her very next over, Shrubsole struck once again when Mithali Raj failed to judge the swing and chipped a drive, which was eventually caught by Dunkley for just one. Sharma walked in next and was run-out when she tried to steal a single after tapping it to mid-off. Kate Cross got the direct hit on point dismissing Sharma for a ten-ball duck.
Mandhana was joined by vice-captain Kaur, as the duo looked to emulate their gigantic effort from the previous game against the West Indies. While India were slipping to a very dangerous position, Mandhana managed to thread the boundary at times. When England bowled slightly, she was quick on her backfoot to pull it while she drove everything that was full.
The two quickly got back to what they do the best, rotating the strike. At the 16th over mark, India were 61 for 3. Knight introduced the right-arm off-spin of Dean into the attack to pair up with Ecclestone, who was bowling from the other end. The 21-year-old spinner had an immediate impact as she broke the threatening stand by dismissing Kaur for 14. The ball pitched and instead of turning, went in with the angle, getting Kaur’s outside edge as Jones took a fine catch.
Rana walked in next and was dismissed on the second ball she faced when she tried to drive a ball which was slightly fuller than the one which got Kaur. Another outside edge and another catch from Jones meant India were suddenly half a side down with only 17 overs done. Ghosh joined Mandhana and the duo negated a couple of overs before the southpaw stepped out to Ecclestone, hitting her over covers for a boundary to break the shackles.
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But, the joy was short-lived as the left-arm spinner bowled a delivery which pitched on length, to which Mandhana tried to sweep and failed to get bat on it. Though it was plumb in front of, the DRS referral showed that the impact was umpires call. Mandhana walked back with 35 from 58 to her name.
In the next over, Ghosh decided to take on Dean after starting out slow. She danced down the track and hit a boundary straight down the ground. In the next over, she punished Ecclestone for another boundary with a cut shot. A couple of overs later, Vastrakar survived an LBW appeal on the back of a good review. However, she was eventually given out two deliveries later for six with India slipping further into trouble for 86 for 7.
Goswami joined Ghosh in the middle as the two attempted to revive the innings. Ghosh hit Ecclestone for another boundary while Goswami at the other end tried to settle down. Kate Cross was introduced next and was immediately taken on by Ghosh for a boundary. Goswami got her first boundary off Dean. In the next over, the veteran hit Cross straight down the ground for a six and then got a streaky four to top off a big over.
The 34th over by Cross was eventful. Ghosh was run out for 33 trying to steal a single. With that England summed up a great day on the field after being criticized for poor performance on the field. Goswami then drove past the mid-off fielder for a boundary. But she sliced one delivery which was caught by Wyatt for 20. Dean came back to get the final wicket, bowling India out for 134 runs and finishing with her career-best figures of 4 for 23.
Brief scores: England 136 for 6 in 31.2 overs (Heather Knight 53*, Natalie Sciver 45; Meghna Singh 3/26) beat India 134 all-out in 36.2 overs (Smriti Mandhana 35; Charlotte Dean 4/23, Anya Shrubsole 2/20) by four wickets.