Opener Smriti Mandhana’s 79* and captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s unbeaten 29 helped India beat England by eight wickets in the second T20I of the three-match series at County Cricket Ground, Derby on Wednesday. Smriti’s glorious undefeated knock saw India avoid any stutter to chase a subpar total from host nation England. She was expertly accompanied by the Indian captain until the end to help India achieve their first win of the series, helping the visitors tie the series 1-1.
The Indian team got off to a good start in their pursuit after Freya Kemp became the youngest woman to achieve a T20I fifty for England and helped her team reach 142/6.
Sneh Rana took three wickets, while Renuka Singh and Deepti Sharma claimed one scalp each.
Shafali Verma accompanied batter Mandhana to give India’s pursuit.
The duo took charge to the English bowlers and reached a flurry of limits in the power play.
Left-handed Mandhana enjoyed the bowling of first-innings hero Freya Kemp, who threw over the fifth. Kemp was taken to the cleaners and was hit for four limits, including a freestyle. Kemp proved to be expensive and got 19 points away in the first over.
India raced along to victory, but the introduction of Sophie Ecclestone saw Shafali Verma get caught and throw the last ball of the power play, giving England a much-needed breakthrough.
The visitors closed the power play brilliantly with a score of 55-1.
Shafali’s departure brought in Dayalan Hemalatha. Hemlatha didn’t bother the English bowlers and was soon sacked after scoring just nine runs in the ninth left, bringing the Indian captain into the fold.
Smriti continued to set boundaries at regular intervals to let Kaur play second fiddle and settle in. The duo took India to 90-2 by the end of 10 overs with Mandhana on 43 from 28 balls and Kaur on 11 from six deliveries.
India had no trouble taking the rest of the runs with two of their most prolific batters on the fold. The duo stitched an unbeaten partnership of 69 runs to take India home in the 17th over.
Sophie Ecclestone and Freya Davies each took a wicket for England.
After choosing to bat first, the hosts lost wickets in quick succession due to brilliant bowling from Indian bowlers. Deepti Sharma drew first blood in the sixth and sent Dunkley on her very first ball of the game.
England were soon reduced to 16 before losing three wickets at the end of the third over with Renuka Singh finding Wyatt’s edge and a brilliant fielding effort from Radha Yadav saw the back of Alice Capsey. England closed the power play 29-3.
Some good shots from Amy Jones helped the England team bring their innings back to life, but Sneh Rana struck twice to sack Bryony Smith and Jones and leave the hosts reeling at 60 for five at the end of 10 overs.
Maria Bouchier and Freya Kemp then took the lead and unleashed some powerful shots to the ground, extending an important sixth wicket partnership. The sixth wicket partnership was worth 65 in eight overs, giving the hosts something to defend, finishing with 142 at the end of the 20 overs.
Kemp played a blitzer of a turn and was aided by Bouchier’s late bloom. Sneh Rana was the bowlers’ choice who took three wickets for India and gave up just 24 runs.
India chased the target with 20 balls left to tie the series. The decider will now be played in Bristol on September 15 with the series at stake.
Smriti Mandhana was named ‘Player of the Match’ for her match-winning knockout of 79 runs by 13 limits.
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