Durham [UK], September 11 (ANI): India suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of England on Sunday in a rain-affected match on the riverside ground, Chester-le-Street.
Sophia Dunkley’s unbeaten 61 anchored their chase in the second innings after Sarah Glenn took 4 for 23, the legspinner’s best figures in T20Is, to confine India’s hitters on a rainy night in Durham.
Amy Jones, filling in for Heather Knight, asked India to bat after a delayed toss, with the start delayed by 30 minutes due to heavy rain earlier in the day. Prior to the play, there was a guard of honour and a minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II.
Despite being put in to bat in what appeared to be excellent seam-bowling conditions, India enjoyed a successful powerplay, losing only Smriti Mandhana while increasing the total to 41. Mandhana had tucked into the bowling of her Southern Brave teammate Lauren Bell on her England debut but succumbed to the second of two consecutive lbw reviews off Bryony Smith’s off-spin.
Spin ruined India’s solid start during the middle overs. Glenn’s first three balls went for six runs, but she swiftly corrected to bowl a skiddier length and had Shafali holing out to long-off. Sophie Ecclestone then bowled a maiden over to Dayalan Hemalatha, who was making a comeback in her first T20I in more than three years. The pressure may have contributed to Hemalatha playing a rash shot at a straight delivery in the following over, leaving India tottering at 55 for 3.
As India’s fourth-wicket partnership prepared to kick on, Ecclestone’s second over yielded 13 runs, with Ghosh hitting a stunning six over deep midwicket. Ghosh, however, mistimed a slower ball from Freya Davies to long-on, and Harmanpreet was dismissed by Glenn, the ball staying horribly low to rattle off stump. Glenn had her maiden T20I four-for when India’s rookie Navgire slog-swept direct to deep midwicket in the 17th over.
The Indian innings never got going and the visitors managed to get to a below-par total ending with 132 on board for the loss of seven wickets. Deepti Sharma top-scored for the visitors, scoring 29 runs off 24 balls.
Riding her luck, the English opener played a match-winning knock and made a mockery of the target which could have proved fatal had the chances been grabbed by the Indians. She scored 61 off 44 balls, also stitching key partnerships with Danielle Wyatt and Alice Capsey.
In addition to providing reprives to Dunkley, India’s sloppiness in the field made life easier for England in the chase. The ground was wet, as evidenced by Radha Yadav’s need for assistance after injuring her shoulder while fielding at backward point.
But countless unforced errors kept the scoreboard ticking for England. Renuka, Pooja Vastrakar, Kiran Prabhu Navgire, and Simran Bahadur, one of India’s substitute fielders, all misjudged balls that could have been stopped but went for four. Another missed opportunity was Dunkley’s six, albeit difficult a chance gone begging that the Indian captain let go of.
Harmanpreet was vocal about the poor fielding conditions in the second innings, with the ground being wet making life difficult for the Indian fielders. She was happy with the efforts put by the team and rued the injury to Radha Yadav which forced her out of the game.
ESPNcricinfo quoted Harmanpreet as, “It was not 100%, the conditions to play cricket, but still we put in the efforts,” Harmanpreet said afterwards. “The ground was too wet and there were so many chances to get injured – and one of our players [Radha] got injured also, she was our main bowler and that’s why we were one bowler short. But the way we were putting in the effort, I’m really happy.”
India will now face the English side in the second T20I of the three-match series on September 13 and will look to level the series.
Brief Scores: INDW 132/7 (20) Deepti Sharma 29(24), Sarah Glenn 4/23
ENGW 134/1 (13) Sophia Dunkley 61(44), Renuka Singh 1/23 (ANI)
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