India cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket win over England in the second women’s ODI at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match ODI series.
Choosing to bat first, England could only manage a total of 161 all-out in 43.3 overs. Had it not been for number five batter Natalie Sciver’s knock of 85 off 109 balls which held the England innings together towards the end, the visitors would have ended with a total significantly lower than what they achieved.
Pacers Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey did the bulk of the damage, finishing with four wickets each. In reply, India reached the target in 41.1 overs, Smriti Mandhana top-scoring with 63. Mithali Raj (47*) and Punam Raut (32) played their parts too after they lost Jemimah Rodrigues early in the innings.
Only Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver and Lauren Winfield reached double figures for England, the rest of the batters falling to get going. Pandey and Goswami shocked England with three early wickets by the seventh over, with the score reading 14/3. This included the wicket of opener Beaumont.
It was at that point when Natalie Sciver took charge of proceedings and ensured that she did not lose her wicket, regardless of the regular departure of teammates around her. Along with Lauren Winfield, she helped put up a 49-run partnership before the former departed and left England at 93/5.
Sciver then decided to target Ekta Bisht and Poonam Yadav, after not receiving any room to play her shots from the two in-form pacers. But both Georgia Elwiss and Katherine Brunt departed for ducks in almost identical fashion off the bowling of Shikha Pandey, to leave England at 95/7.
Anya Shrubsole and Sophie Ecclestone offered little resistance and at 119/9, it looked like the innings would fold soon. However, the last wicket stand of Alex Hartley and Sciver frustrated the Indian bowlers, and it was 42 runs and eight overs before Sciver was LBW by Jhulan Goswami for a well-made 85.
Chasing 162, India lost the wicket of Jemimah Rodrigues early for a duck, caught by Amy Jones off the bowling of Anya Shrubsole. But Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut ensured that there were no jitters, playing every ball to its merit and finding boundary at regular intervals.
India neither scored at a spectacular run-rate, nor did they need to. Despite Punam Raut being stumped in the 20th over to leave India at 74/2, the experienced Mithali Raj walked in and calmed things down once more.
It wasn’t long before Mandhana brought up her fifty, scoring at a strike rate of almost hundred. Shrubsole, Georgia Elwiss and Sciver could not find much purchase from the pitch, and India cruised along.
It looked like the pair of Mandhana and Raj would be the one to take India home to victory, before the former departed for a well-made 63 off 74 balls, LBW by Anya Shrubsole.
But the job was eventually completed by Deepti Sharma 6 (29) and Mithali Raj 47 (69), and India completed the seven wicket victory with 53 balls to spare.
With the win, India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match ODI series, with the next match to be played on Thursday, February 28th.