Harmanpreet Kaur masterpiece helps India to famous series win
Harmanpreet Kaur led from the front and played an innings for the ages to help India end their 23-year wait for a bilateral ODI series win in England as they vanquished the hosts by 88 runs in Canterbury on Wednesday. Renuka Singh Thakur impressed on her return after the batters had put a massive total on the board.
More struggles for Shafali
India had a familiar start as Shafali Verma was loose at the top. Her approach of not moving her feet and just throwing her hands at the ball saw her cleaned up by the tidy Kate Cross for eight.
Smriti Mandhana was cautious and played with soft hands, which meant that edges fell short of the catching fielders. She eventually got off the mark with a stylish straight drive for four.
Yastika Bhatia was aggressive in the Powerplay and put the pressure on the bowlers by using her feet to negate the early swing on offer. She put on a half century stand with Mandhana, who went past 300 runs, becoming the fastest Indian in terms of innings as well as balls faced to reach the mark. Her promising innings ended abruptly on 26 when she one back to Charlie Dean off her own bowling.
Amy Jones delayed bringing Sophie Ecclestone into the attack till the 16th over and she was launched for a six in her very first over by Mandhana, but Ecclestone had her own back as she dismissed the opener for 40 after she failed to connect with a sweep, with the ball hitting her just in line with the stumps.
The Kaur-Deol show
India got off to a fast start in the Powerplay but the loss of Mandhana and some canny bowling by Dean saw them slow down in the middle overs as they struggled to find the boundary. The reintroduction of pace saw India bat with greater fluency as Harmanpreet Kaur punished Cross and Lauren Bell, who replaced Issy Wong in the XI, whenever they drifted on to the pads.
After getting going against pace, Kaur and Harleen Deol took the spinners to task, as Deol hit Dean for a boundary before hitting a six each of Ecclestone and Bell. Both players brought their fifties and put on a hundred run stand before Deol perished for 58 while attempting another maximum.
From then, it was a Harmanpreet Kaur show as she scored 80 off the last 34 balls she faced to finish unbeaten on 143* off just 11 balls to prop India to their second-highest total in ODIs. Kaur’s aggression saw Bell and Freya Kemp, who came in for Alice Davidson-Richards and made her debut, notch the two most expensive figures in England’s ODI history.
Kemp had only conceded 28 runs in her first seven overs but her last three overs went for 54 as Kaur crunched her for three fours and a six in the 50th over to end with a flourish.
She received good support from Pooja Vastrakar and Deepti Sharma who scored 18 and 15* respectively and ensured that India’s run rate did not drop in the last 10 overs even as Kaur went berserk at the other end.
Renuka swings it big
To chase down the second-highest total recorded against them in ODIs, England needed to get out of the blocks quickly and that desperation cost Tammy Beaumont as she was run out by a direct hit from Kaur at mid on for six.
Renuka Singh Thakur was brought into the XI in place of Meghna Singh and she struck twice in the first 10 overs with her brand on prodigious inswing to first uproot Sophia Dunkley’s stumps for 1 before dismissing Emma Lamb LBW for 15 after she failed to make a connection after shuffling across the stumps.
Alice Capsey and Danielle Wyatt then put on a fifty stand at over a run a ball but Sharma provided India with a much-needed breakthrough by deceiving Capsey in the flight and having her caught at mid-off for 39.
Wyatt then stitched a stand together with Jones and it took the reintroduction of Thakur to end her aggressive innings at 65 and also end England’s last real hope of winning the match as she was bowled by a yorker.
Kaur was on song in the field too as her decision to throw the ball to Dayalan Hemalatha also worked, with the off spinner getting Amy Jones stumped for 39 before Thakur picked her second four-fer of the year in ODIs by having Sophie Ecclestone caught on the midwicket fence for 1.
Kaur used as many as eight bowlers and even Verma, who was the eighth bowler, went on to pick a wicket after dismissing Kate Cross for 14 as the match meandered to its end.
England’s last wicket delayed the inevitable for a while before Hemalatha capped off a tidy performance by having Dean stumped off her bowling for 37.
Brief Scores: India 333/5 in 50 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 143, Harleen Deol 58, Smriti Mandhana 40; Charlie Dean 1/39) beat England 245/10 in 44.2 overs (Danni Wyatt 65, Amy Jones 39, Alice Capsey 39; Renuka Singh Thakur 4/57, Dayalan Hemalatha 2/6) by 88 runs POTM: Harmanpreet Kaur