Smriti Mandhana’s crucial innings and dominating spells by the pacers dashed England’s hope of creating history on the Indian soil, defeating the visitors by seven wickets on Monday at the Wankhede Stadium with a game to spare. Chasing a below-par score of 161 runs, opener Mandhana kept the visitors at bay with a magnificent knock of 63. In spite of losing her opening partner Jemimah Rodrigues for a duck, the Southpaw steadied the ship with a 73-run stand with Punam Raut. England got a glimmer of hope when pacer Georgia Elwiss dismissed Raut for 32. Captain Mithali Raj joined Mandhana in the middle, ensuring the Indian team does not lose momentum in the run chase. The hosts faced a minor hiccup as they lost Mandhana still needing 22 runs to win the match. Mithali (47*) and Deepti Sharma (6*) took the team over the line and sealed a comfortable seven-wicket win.
Earlier, top scorer Natalie Sciver (85) anchored the innings for England after the visitors opted to bat. The all-rounder single-handedly guided the visitors to post a respectable total of 161 under 44 overs as India made early inroads against England.
Experienced pace pair of Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey rattled the top-order in quick succession. First, Pandey sent Amy Jones (3) back in her first over, followed by the departure of Sarah Taylor (1) and captain Heather Knight (2) off Goswami’s spells.
In the middle overs, India lost the plot as Lauren Winfield along with Sciver put England innings’ highest 49 run-stand before leg spinner Poonam Yadav struck Winfield for 28.
The match tilted in favour of India as Poonam and the pace duo cleaned up the lower-order, denying Sciver to find any support on the other end.
England at 119 for nine seemed to be in trouble however, Sciver made every little opportunity count as she timely executed the rotation of strike with Alex Hartley.
Sciver and Hartley in the middle added 42 runs for the last wicket. The bulk of the scoring was done by the all-rounder, farming the majority of the strike for almost eight overs.
The sensational Sciver, who had put on a new England ODI record-best 10th wicket stand, was caught in front of middle off Goswami’s delivery, leaving Hartley stranded on zero.
India, with an unassailable 2-0 lead, have grabbed two more ICC Women’s Championship points and will meet England for the third ODI on February 28 at the Wankhede Stadium. Brief scores: India Women 162/3 (Mandhana 63, Mithali 47* Shrubsole 2-23) beat England Women 161 (Sciver 85, Pandey 4-18, Goswami 4-30) by seven wickets.