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On This Day: Smriti Mandhana Led India to a Record Breaking Victory over England in 2017 ICC World Cup

This girl used to play cricket because she wanted to see her name coming out in the newspaper one day. In her own words “If you score well in class 10 then your name may come up once in a paper and that’s all. But if you play good cricket people will remember your name.” That’s Smriti Mandhana for you.

And in the very first match of the WWC’17 when millions of people were watching the game for the first time, she showed her class. As people are talking about her batting, her goal which is to play good cricket and to be remembered by people seems not far away. And that lady led India to their 4th victory, the largest in terms of runs against England in World Cups 4 years back on this day.

2017 World Cup was a part of ICC’s initiative to promote the Women’s cricket. ICC broadcasted some of the games and live streaming the others to reach out to the viewers, used the SpiderCam, Decision Review System, and increased the prize money.

India was determined to erase the horrible memory of the previous World Cup. Led under their seasoned campaigner and star batter Mithali Raj. India started its WWC’17 journey against mighty England. Though if we peep through the record books India and England have played 9 times in the World Cup where England has won 5, on the other hand, India has clinched the victory 4 times. Though it is almost an even battle but India didn’t win any match against England after 2012.

England’s Heather Knight won the toss and decided to field first in Derbyshire. It was expected that with experienced seam bowling line-up comprised with Shrubsole, Brunt, Gunn, and with the cunning spin bowling of skipper herself England will rattle the Indian batting line-up. But this young Indian side with all their energy turned the odds in the favour of women in blue.

Punam Raut
Punam Raut plays a shot during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 match between England and India. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Aggressive Smriti Mandhana who made a comeback in the team went with the flying colours with the very first ball she faced. It was a short ball on her leg by Brunt and Mandhana despatched that with ease for four. In her 2nd over Brunt was hit four boundaries, three of which were on the consecutive deliveries through cover by Smriti Mandhana. It seemed that she was completing the innings she had to left in the field due to an unlucky run-out, way back in 2014 in England. Her innings were an example of a combination of clean hitting and elegance.

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Her 2nd century was not much way but she pulled a ball of England skipper straight at the hand of the fielder at mid-wicket. Smriti might have missed a hundred, she deserved, but this was one of those innings which we can see over and over again. Her 90 of 72 balls comprised of 11 fours and 2 sixes (sixes were hit against Jenny Gun and Shrubsole).

When Smriti Mandhana was toying with the English bowling on the other hand Punam Raut steadily and calmly paced her innings so that they wouldn’t lose a wicket. This dynamic duo put up 144 run partnership in 26.5 over, 2nd highest for the opening wicket by India in the world cup. After the fall of a wicket, in-form Mithali Raj came to crease and carried her through the innings. In between Punam Raut completed her fifty as well. As Punam got out after making 86 off 134 balls it’s Raj and Kaur who took over the responsibility for India.

Mithali, who was on the verge of becoming the first woman to cross 6000 runs in ODI surpassed former England skipper Charlotte Edwards became the first woman to hit 7 consecutive fifties in ODI. Raj’s unbeaten 71 comprises of 8 fours and her innings was well supported by Kaur (24*) to guide India to reach 281, India’s second-highest run in the world cup. Heather Knight was the only bowler from England who made an impact with her spin and picked up 2 wickets by giving away 41 runs.

Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj of India bats during the England v India at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

England, missing opener Lauren Winfield due to injury, sent another comeback-woman Sarah Taylor with Tammy Beaumont. Both of them made a cautious start but both removed by Indian all-rounder Sikha Pandey within 11 overs. First Beaumont edged to Smriti in slip for 14 and then Sarah got out of the same bowler of 22. 5 over later Natalia Sciver found the gloves of Sushma Verma of the bowling of Deepti Sharma. England was 67/3 in 17 over, then Skipper herself with Fran Wilson tried to rebuild the England innings.

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The singles and doubles continued to hunt India and duo crossed the 50 run partnership. It was Harmanpreet whose excellent fielding effort put a stop to Heather knight’s innings, who out by a direct hit from Kaur on 46. India was good, if not excellent in the field, as they dropped few catches but they picked some 4 incredible run-outs to turn the game. At one point in time, it seemed that England might create a problem for India who was smelling the essence of victory when Fran Wilson (81) and Katherin Brunt (24) were batting.

But both of them got out in quick succession in a crucial moment. Anya Shrubsole’s hitting was not enough as sub-Veda Krishnamurthy picked up a good catch of Shrubsole of the bowling of Deepti Sharma to wrap up England’s innings and complete a comprehensive win by 35 runs to make it 5-5 in the world cup. Deepti Sharma (3/47) was the pick of the bowlers for India, supported by Sikha Panday(2/35). Smriti Mandhana was judged Player of the Match for her knock of 90.

Brief Score:

India: 281-3 (Smriti Mandhana 90, Punam Raut 86, Mithali Raj 71* Heather Knight 2/41) beat England: 246-10 (Fran Wilson 81, Heather Knight 46, Deepti Sharma 3/47, Sikha Pandey 2/35) by 35 runs.



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