Harmanpreet Kaur’s Team India defeated England women by 16 runs in the third and the final ODI at Lord’s to clinch the three-match series 3-0. The series whitewash was nothing but a farewell gift to legendary pacer Jhulan Goswami who played her last international game on Saturday. The 39-year-old retired as the highest wicket-taker in women’s ODIs; with 255 scalps to her credit. With 355 wickets, she has the most international wickets in women’s cricket.
India went through a horrible collapse after being asked to bat first at the Lord’s. All-rounder Deepti Sharma top-scored with an unbeaten 68 off 106 balls while opener Smriti Mandhana scored 50 runs. Barring these two, none of the Indian batters could make any substantial contribution as India women were bundled out for 169 in 45.4 overs.
But Harmanpreet and his girls had the strong determination to affect a whitewash. Despite setting a low target, the visitors went for the victory and put their best foot forward to achieve it.
Tammy Beaumont and Emma Lamb provided a decent start to the hosts but Renuka Thakur had some other plans. The Indian pacer continued her top form and drew the first blood by dismissing Lamb in the 8th over. She kept on hurting England by taking wickets at regular intervals, preventing them from forging big partnerships.
England were reduced to 65 for 7 when captain Amy Jones tried to put some pressure on the Indians. She anchored the chase for a while and added 38 runs for the 8th wicket along with Charlotte Dean but Renuka returned to dismantle the stand. Jone tried to clear the fence in the 30th over but ended up holing it out to Harleen Deol near the boundary line.
While Renuka returned figures of 4 for 29 in 10 overs, Jhulan struck twice in her spell to take her tally of ODI wickets to 255. She registered figures of 3 for 30 in her last international cricket match.
The dismissal of Kate Cross left the hosts reeling at 118/9 with 52 more required in 14.4 overs. Dean kept on fighting alone and smashed a few boundaries against the likes of Dayalan Hemlatha and Rajeshwari Gayakwad. But it was Deepti Sharma who turned the course of the game with a controversial finish.
The all-rounder came to bowl the 44th over and on the 4th delivery, she ran Dean out at the non-striker’s end. Following the Mankading incident, there was an awkward silence all over the Lord’s but as per the rules, it was a fair run-out and after checking out the TV replay, third-umpire Sue Redfern gave it out.
India won the game by 16 runs and took away the series. The elated India players lifted Jhulan on their shoulders and celebrated the victory with the legendary bowler.