Natalie Sciver-Brunt propels England to a narrow win over India

England came out on top in a critical Group Two match against India at St. George's Park in Gqeberha as they registered a narrow win by 11 runs

Mrinal Asija
19 Feb 2023
Natalie Sciver-Brunt propels England to a narrow win over India

Richa Ghosh's knock was in vain as India lost to England © Getty

Richa Ghosh’s unbeaten knock of 47 and Smriti Mandhana’s half-century were not enough as India failed to chase down England’s total of 151 at St. George's Park in Gqeberha in the crucial T20 World Cup encounter on Saturday (February 18.)

In the top of the table clash in Group 2 with both teams unbeaten so far. With the winner of this match likely to get a first-place finish and a chance to avoid the mighty Australians in the semi-finals, the stakes were high. The match would be played under the shadow of rain and that made Harmanpreet Kaur choose to field first. India brought in Shikha Pandey for Devika Vaidya, while England remained unchanged.

Renuka Thakur was on fire straight away and got the edge of Danielle Wyatt with an inswinger in the very first over. Wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh took an excellent catch diving to her right. In her second over, she demolished the stumps of in-form Alice Capsey for three. 

England were struggling on 14 for 2 at the end of three overs when Natalie Sciver-Brunt took Pooja Vastrakar for back-to-back boundaries. But Kaur continued with Thakur for another over on the trot and the quick delivered with the wicket of Sophia Dunkley. It was another inswinger that struck Dunkley’s leg stump and the opener had to walk back for 10.

England finished the powerplay on 37 for 3 with the experienced pair of Sciver-Brunt and Heather Knight at the crease. As Kaur introduced spin, the pair decided to accelerate the scoring and boundaries started to come every over for England.

It was the veteran pacer Pandey who got the crucial breakthrough for India in the 11th over when she dismissed the England captain with a full-toss. The wicket kept the batting side quiet for a few overs before Amy Jones decided to unleash. She tonked Vastrakar over deep mid-wicket and then hit consecutive boundaries off Radha Yadav in the next over.

Natalie brought up her fifty in the 17th over but was caught by Smriti Mandhana off Deepti Sharma soon after. Sharma was hit for a couple of sixes by Jones and Sophie Ecclestone in her next over.

The great evening for Thakur continued as she picked up a couple of wickets to get a five-for in the last over of the innings.

After the start they had with the ball, India would have expected to be chasing a smaller total than the 151 that they had in front of them. They needed to play smart cricket from thereon and started the innings steadily, scoring 11 off the first two overs off Katherine Sciver-Brunt and Lauren Bell.

But when Katherine came back for the third over, Mandhana let loose and scored four boundaries off her. Shafali Verma could not find that touch and fell to a short ball from Bell. Jemimah Rodrigues joined Mandhana at the crease and the duo took India to 40 for 1 at the end of the powerplay.

The pair however struggled to score freely against the England spin trio of Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn, and Charlie Dean. As the scoreboard pressure kept on increasing, Rodrigues gave away her wicket to Glenn. Captain Kaur’s stay in the middle did not last long either as she was picked by Ecclestone. 

With the required rate creeping up to 9.77 at the end of the 11th over, India needed Mandhana to stay at the crease as long as possible and for Ghosh to fire from the other end.

The duo did manage to keep up with the rate by finding the boundaries and Mandhana brought up her fifty with a six off Glenn in the 16th over. But the Indian vice-captain emulated her England counterpart and lost her wicket right after reaching the milestone.

That proved to be a decisive blow for India as, in spite of Richa Ghosh’s power-hitting in the death overs, the team could not cross the finishing line.

Brief Scores: England 151/7 (Natalie Sciver-Brunt 50, Amy Jones 40; Renuka Thakur 5/15) beat India 140/5 (Smriti Mandhana 52, Richa Ghosh 47*; Sarah Glenn 2/27) by 11 runs. POTM: Nat Sciver-Brunt

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