Even if the dust has settled on the WPL (Women’s Premier League) auction, women’s cricket continued to fascinate this great metropolis with a big crowd turning up for the third and final T20I here at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
It might have been a dead rubber, with England having taken a 2-0 lead, but the Women in Blue gave the fans something to cheer about as India chased down England’s modest 126 with five wickets and an over to spare.
The chase was led by Smriti Mandhana (48, 48b, 5x4, 2x6), who at last found her form after her twin failures in the series. Though she got out when 15 were required, she had done enough.
After Shafali Verma fell early, exposing her stumps to get bowled by Freya Kemp, Mandhana added 57 for the second wicket with Jemimah Rodrigues (29, 33b, 4x4) to put the chase on track.’
The England innings was all about an excellent bowling effort from India, backed by fine fielding, and an exceptional innings under pressure by captain Heather Knight. If not for the skipper’s 42-ball fifty, the visitors’ innings would have failed to use up the overs.
Renuka Singh broke through early yet again, as she brought the third ball of the innings sharply in and knocked back Maia Bouchier’s leg stump. Not surprisingly, she smiled broadly.
It soon turned out that most of the Indian bowlers would get plenty of chances to smile on this pleasant night. Spinners Saika Ishaque and Shreyanka Patil, two of the finds of the WPL, picked up three wickets apiece in just their third matches, both having debuted in this series.
The duo, in fact, joined hands to end the promising knock of wicketkeeper Amy Jones (25, 21b, 3x4), Shreyanka catching the slog sweep at deep mid-wicket off Ishaque. At the non-striking end was Knight, who stood tall among the ruins. She added fifty for the ninth wicket with Charlie Dean (16 not out, 15b) to take England past 120, but the total was always going to be difficult to defend.
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