India 108 for 2 (Mandhana 62*, Hazell 2-17) beat England 107 (Wyatt 31, Anuja 3-21) by eight wickets
India’s six-match winless streak came to an end in the final league match of the tri-series courtesy Smriti Mandhana‘s unbeaten 62 and Anuja Patil‘s 3 for 21. The duo helped the hosts register an eight-wicket victory – their first in this home series – against England, who suffered their second straight loss ahead of the final against Australia on March 31.
Smashing her fifth half-century in six matches, Mandhana helped raze down India’s 108-run target with 26 balls to spare. Mithali Raj labored to a 15-ball six before lobbing a dolly to Alice Davidson-Richards at mid-off.
England’s lacklustre effort with the ball began with Tash Farrant conceding nine runs off the opening over of the chase. Mandhana, meanwhile, flayed left-arm medium-pacer Katie George for three consecutive fours in the second over before being dropped on 13 by Tammy Beaumont off the sixth delivery.
Mandhana then put on a resounding display, piercing the point and cover-point gap with precision, peppering the square leg boundary and plundering the covers with delectable accuracy. In captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s company, she shepherded India to 49 for 2 at the end of the Powerplay and crunched eight fours and a six en route to her 41-ball flourish, including a back-foot punch for four past square that brought up her fifty. Harmanpreet struck 31 off 20 and clobbered two fours.
Earlier, England elected to bat first. Amy Jones, the opener, was yet to get off the mark when she was reprieved by Harmanpreet inside the ring. A mistimed pull off Pooja Vastrakar, however, gave India their first wicket.
Left-arm spinner Radha Yadav conceded 14 off her first over, with Danielle Wyatt carting her for a four and a six in three balls, helping England amass 54 for 1 in the Powerplay. A splendid return catch from Deepti Sharma, however, sent back Wyatt, who top-scored with a 22-ball 31 but fell trying to whip a tossed-up offbreak over the bowler’s head. Four balls later, legspinner Poonam Yadav elicited a top-edge out of a Beaumont sweep that landed into the hands of Jhulan Goswami at square leg.
Patil found the first of her three wickets in Natalie Sciver, who perished while attempting a reverse sweep that was snaffled dexterously by wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia. Sciver’s dismissal led to a seven-wicket collapse for 23 runs, during which Anuja and Radha snared four wickets between them.
The slowish deck at Brabourne offered enough assistance to the spinners, who shared nine wickets among them, including that of captain Heather Knight who edged a cut to Bhatia off Yadav. Fran Wilson’s 20-ball 12 helped England scramble past 100, before Bhatia stumped her off Deepti.
The culmination of Player of the Match Anuja’s three-for came via arguably India’s most spectacular fielding effort amid a prolonged phase of shoddiness from the hosts this home season. Harmanpreet, stationed at long-off sprinted to her right, and dived full length to hold on to a one-handed stunner that sent back Danielle Hazell. The inability of England’s last five batsmen to notch up a double-digit score meant India rolled them over for 107 in 18.5 overs.