In a quite dramatic face-off against India in the 14th match of ICC T20 World Cup 2023, England stood out high and victorious to beat the Women in Blue by 11 runs. Although the Mandhana-Ghosh duo brought many hopes in the middle, India could match just shorter than what England did. And there was Nat Scriver to sweep the Player of the Match for her 42-ball 50.
This time, India began their campaign with a thrilling victory over Pakistan before cruising past the West Indies. After Shafali Verma’s opening-day fireworks, a certain Richa Ghosh has shown aggression and maturity in each of those instances.
Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur were yet to show their strengths on surfaces where stroke-making has not been as simple, though Harmanpreet did display her class in the chase against West Indies. They were needed to contribute more against England, who are always competitive.
On this pre-set, India won the toss and chose to bowl first, the decision she seconded for the weather being the reason overall. Renuka Singh spearheaded the bowling attack for India and the Sophia Dunkley- Danni Wyatt duo stood straight on the crease to kick off the start.
And an impeccable in-swinger from Renuka, toppled Wyatt on the very third ball of the match getting the latter dismissed on an interesting duck. Dunkley remained calm and eased the pressure to bring the first four of the innings in the second over but that was not enough to contain Renuka in her maestro to dismiss Capsey in the third over. What a spell!
Nat Sciver-Brunt was the new down in the line-up at four and it seemed she had already been gearing up her bat from the pavilion to rain down early in the innings with two consecutive fours in the fourth over.
Renuka was on top of the world as she proved her eminence with a third wicket in the very third over of her spell in the name of Dunkley. What more was needed for the Women in Blue to get the perfect start in a high temper as this against England? But that brought the England skipper Heather Knight in the middle.
Knight started off with a bang on her fourth face-off with the ball that was hammered and punished hard for a beautiful boundary in the sixth over. The powerplay summarized at a kept-low 37 for the larger loss of 3.
Brunt too opened her arms in the eighth over to steal a fine boundary at the long-on area. And it seemed the duo were trying to gear up the run rate which ultimately laid the scores of runs coming forward for England. Two boundaries each from Knight and Brunt in the ninth and tenth over respectively, put the English scoreboard at 72 for 3 by the end of 10 overs.
A good-in-touch Knight could only last till the last ball of the eleventh over after hitting a four in the same as Shikha Pandey brought the breakthrough for her side. In the post-Knight scene of the innings, Amy Jones and Brunt took the sails in their hands on a stormy night to churn out the best cricket in the talents.
A good and soothing piece of fantastic running between the wickets put the duo on greater confidence than ever and Jones just geared up her bats to finish the fifteenth over with the first maximum of the match, an over that started with her famishing four. The sixteenth over too, saw the rush of Jones as she punished Deepti Sharma for two back-to-back boundaries.
The third ball of the seventeenth over brought the 11th T20I fifty for Brunt but this time Deepti Sharma could not let Brunt (50 off 42 balls) go from succumbing to the hands of Smriti Mandhana. The following over seemed jostled with this big wicket but Jones was soaring on the other waves to punish Sharma for two smoked-out sixes in the nineteenth over.
Despite Jones’ thrust, the last over for England remained a mixture of two wickets, Jones (40 off just 27) and Katherine at a duck, followed by a four coming as a bye. England summed up at 151 for 7. Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma were both set to kick off the not-so-easy chase of 152 down the line. The first over, instead the set-up remained calm for India.
Verma brought the first four of the innings on the second ball of the following over. And the third over-pushed Mandhana into power as she hammered four back-to-back boundaries to announce the actual chase in the show. Mandhana has just brought the momentum in and Verma (8 off 11) fell short to continue it longer than the fourth over. With the former’s another stroke of the bat for a four and a few running between the wickets brought 40 for India at the end of the powerplay.
New down, Jemimah Rodrigues and Mandhana tried hard to steal the boundary but could only end up narrowing it down to singles. Two grand and crucial wickets in succession for England almost twisted the backbone of the Indian chase. Rodrigues (13 off 16) and the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (4 off 6) in the tenth and eleventh over respectively, shaped the scenario totally differently than what it seemed in the second over of the chase.
To ease the pressure off, Richa Ghosh tried to bring some wonderful shots for boundaries in the twelfth over followed by Mandhana’s couple of fours in the thirteenth somewhat pushed the hopes a bit up. But still, things looked far for Women in Blue in India as the asking rate was soaring high.
Although the first six of the chase from her bat in the sixteenth over produced a greater stance towards the target along with bringing another fifty for herself, things looked doomed for India once again with her dismissal on the very next ball.
With another low-key seventeenth over India, the results looked clear from not much distance. The Indian chase had got the match for Nat Sciver’s knock as Mandhana and the Women in Blue were now eyeing Ghosh to do the miracle and match Jones which she was somewhat able to bring as a six in the very next over.
Deepti Sharma’s close to summing up at LBW, her run out and Pooja Vastrakar’s struggle in the middle kept fading hopes away from the Indian dugout. And the last over needed 31 from 6 balls to spare. Ghosh brought the drama at the initials of the over with two boundaries, the second of them coming on a no-ball. But the unbeaten 47-run knock from Ghosh could only push the chase to 140 with a powerful and splendid maximum to glare in the sky.
ICC T20 World Cup 2023: England vs India, Match 14 Brief Score
England 151/7 in 20 overs (Nat Sciver-Brunt 50; Renuka Singh 5-15) beat India 140/5 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 52; Sarah Glenn 2-27) by 11 runs.