Sometimes, you could virtually shut a match down in five balls.
Heather Knight with the bat showed how on a pleasant Monday afternoon at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium. The England captain slammed medium-pacer Arundhati Reddy for five successive fours in the 18th over to ensure her side would finish with a formidable score in the first Women’s T20I.
Her blitzkrieg powered the visitor to 160 for four, after being put in. India’s meek reply in the chase was 119 for six.
England, thus, won by 41 runs.
Knight’s blistering knock of 40 off 20 balls (7x4) wasn’t good enough for her to win the Woman of the Match award, though. It went to the wicket-keeping opener Tammy Beaumont, who made 62 off 57 balls (9x4) and also had a good day behind the stumps.
Her opening stand with Danielle Wyatt (35, 34b, 5x4) was worth 89. The duo’s domination of the Indian attack was complete after playing out the first two overs by seamer Shikha Pandey, who had given away just four runs.
And it was Pandey who broke the partnership, in her last over. Wyatt tried to play the short, slightly wide ball over cover, only to find Indian captain Smriti Mandhana snap up a catch.
The new batter, Natalie Sciver, didn’t last long. She was picked up by Poonam Yadav at square leg off the bowling off left-arm spinner Radha Yadav.
If the Indian women felt they were coming back into the match at this stage, Knight defied them instantly. She added 59 for the third wicket with the well-set Beuamont, who played a wide array of shots including a scoop that took her to 50.
India’s top-order needed to fire the way its rival’s did if it needed to pose a serious challenge. Only once has India chased down a target in excess of 160 in this format. This was not the day for an encore.
India raced to 20 for no loss inside two overs, but half of those runs were gifted by the generous Englishwomen in the form of wides.
After adding another run to the total, India lost its first wicket – that of debutant Harleen Deol, who was clueless against a ball that came in sharply from seamer Katherine Brunt; the inside edge was smartly taken by Beaumont.
In the very next over, there were more heartbreaks for India. Left-arm spinner Linsey Smith first had Mandhana, on whom much of the home side’s hopes rested, holing out in the long-on by Kate Cross and off the very next ball she had Jemimah Rodrigues caught behind.
Before long, it was curtains down more or less for India, when Mithali Raj, its most prolific batswoman, ended up giving a catch to Knight at covers off seamer Cross.
Two matches remain in the series for India to stage a turnaround.
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