by Laura Price
In their latest one-day international series against India, England women managed a consolatory win following two defeats. After losing the first ODI by 66 runs and the second by seven wickets, England finally scraped a two wicket victory.
In the first ODI India women outdid England by 66, England failing to chase down India’s 202 runs.
The first day started slowly, India’s batting off to a slow but steady start. Towards the middle of the order, India started to pick things up. England responded well, with left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone and right-arm seamers Georgia Elwiss and Natalie Sciver claiming two wickets each. India’s final push came from Jhulan Goswami’s 37-ball 30, leaving India with a defendable 202 runs.
When it came England’s turn to bat, the side didn’t do themselves justice. They were unable to deal with the Indian left-arm spinner, Ekta Bisht’s superb bowling as she picked up four wickets. England couldn’t seem to get going, with opener Amy Jones falling after just 10 balls.
In an attempt to claw the innings back, the pairing of skipper Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver managed a 73 run partnership.
That, however, wasn’t enough. It was Bisht’s bowling that bettered the pair, she took three wickets in an over to condemn England.
After the game, captain, Heather Knight said, “The total was perfectly chaseable, we bowled well, but were unlucky not to take more wickets up front. But we were more than happy with 200 to chase. I don’t think we played it particularly well today. The pitch started to turn and deteriorated too. There was inconsistent spin as well which makes it harder.”
In the second ODI India were triumphant again. Beating England this time by seven wickets.
Opting to bat first to “put some runs on the board” England only managed to set India a dismal 161 runs for victory. India put together a comprehensive batting performance, despite getting off to a bumpy start, with opener Jemimah Rodrigues falling for a duck after ten balls.
Unfortunately for England, the positive start did not last. Smriti Mandhana’s score of 63 led the chase with captain Mithali Raj scoring a swift and unbeaten 47 to deputise capably.
India finished the day with an unassailable 2-0 lead heading into the third ODI at the Wankhede Stadium. Going into the third match, England felt like they had a lot to prove.
India won the toss and elected to bat hoping to put a big score on the board, knowing it would be difficult for the England team to chase. Opening bowler Katherine Brunt bowled opening batsman Jemimah Rodrigues with just her second ball. England managed to keep control of the Indian run rate, without taking any wickets. India pairing Mandhana and Raut looked comfortable against England’s bowlers taking India to 84/1 in 20 overs. Finally the breakthrough came in the 29th over when Mandhana was caught by Danni Wyatt off the bowling of Brunt. Brunt was excellent with the ball, taking her 5th 5 wicket hall for England in ODI cricket.
Despite Brunt’s brilliance, India set a respectable total of 205, the largest total of the series, for England to chase in order to avoid a humiliating 3-0 whitewash.
Amy Jones and Tammy Beaumont opened the batting for England, Jones starting with some big shots to kick start the chase. Her efforts, however, didn’t pay off, a big hit off a slower delivery from Jhulan Goswami, ended up in Mandhana’s hands rather than sailing over the ropes.
India took wickets at regular intervals, preventing England’s chase from gaining any momentum.
England’s salvation came when captain Heather Knight and Danielle Wyatt met at the crease. The pair battled through a tricky period to have an invaluable partnership of 69. Knight knew she had to perform, digging in to make 47 from 63 balls.
Unfortunately Knight was dismissed after edging one to wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia. This didn’t stop England. With Wyatt taking charge, new pairing Wyatt and Elwiss taking England’s total past 150. Wyatt found her half century and things started to look up for England’s chase. Wyatt fell when England required another 36 runs for victory with just 3 wickets remaining, leaving a nail biting finish to the final ODI.
Brunt scored a crucial 17 off 18 balls taking England closer to glory. With two overs to go England needed five runs. Anya Shrubsole forced England over the line with a four to win the match.
Although this win did not have an overall effect on the series, it was vitally important for England and their confidence moving forward. They went into the series with the belief they could win and losing 3-0 would have been hugely detrimental to the progress that this England team are making.
England will be facing India again on March 4th, the first of a 3-match T20 series.
T20 suits England and their final ODI win should give them the boost they need to better India in the coming T20 games.