Poonam and Bisht win India a last-wicket thriller

India


India women 208 for 9 (Mandhana 86, Deepti 24, Ecclestone 4 for 37) beat England women 207 (Wilson 45, Beaumont 37, Poonam 4-30, Bisht 3-49) by one wicket

How would you describe the 2017 Women’s World Cup final? A thriller? If so, the next ODI between India and England turned out to be nothing less – this time in the opener of the three-match series in Nagpur.

It took a last-wicket stand of 18, between Ekta Bisht and Poonam Yadav, to help the World Cup runners-up beat World Champions England in a thrilling finish. Before their performance with the bat, the two India bowlers also took seven wickets to dismiss England for 207.

A collapse, one reminiscent of their failed run-chase in the World Cup final at Lord’s, had reduced India from 166 for 3 to 190 for 9, but with 18 needed off the last three overs, Pooman joined Bisht at the crease and scored four runs – all in singles – in the 48th over.

A front foot no-ball off the first delivery of the 49th over from stand-in captain Anya Shrubsole, the Player of the Match in the World Cup final, conceded five as Bisht found the backward-point boundary. Three nervy singles and another four, from Poonam, made it 12 runs off the over. Shrubsole hung her head, clutching her knee in dismay, and India needed two to win off six balls.

Bisht then worked a single towards third man off Natalie Sciver, before a wide down the leg side sealed victory in 49.2 overs. The run-a-ball scores of 7 by Bisht and 12 by Poonam handed India their first win in the 50-over format this home season, following a 3-0 hiding against Australia in Baroda last month.

India should not have struggled in the low chase after Smriti Mandhana made 86. With the equation reading 37 needed off 72 balls, Veda Krishnamurthy, Sushma Verma and Jhulan Goswami played out 46 balls for 13 runs, before left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone removed all three batsmen in consecutive overs. Her 4 for 37 followed offspinner Danielle Hazell’s 2 for 24 that had left the hosts wobbling at 41 for 2 inside the Powerplay. One of Hazell’s wickets was that of Mithali Raj, lbw for a duck in her 192nd ODI appearance.

Mandhana subsequently steered the chase with two fifty partnerships en route to her sixth half-century in seven matches. With Harmanpreet Kaur (21 off 38) she added 51 for the fourth wicket and shepherded India close to the hundred-run mark, before sharing a 71-run stand with Deepti Sharma. Variable bounce and turn on the Nagpur pitch forced Mandhana to be cautious, but she managed to hit five fours and three sixes.

England had also collapsed after opting to bat. They slid from 71 for no loss to 124 for 6 in the middle overs. Leading the undoing for the visitors was legspinner Poonam, who dismissed Danielle Wyatt (27) and Amy Jones in the 12th over. She followed up with a second caught-and-bowled dismissal in the 16th over – Tammy Beaumont for 37 – before Bisht ran through the middle order with three wickets.

A semblance of resistance, however, came from Fran Wilson, whose 78-ball 45 hauled England to 181 for 8 on the back of three partnerships, including the 40-run eight-wicket stand with Hazell. After Wilson holed out in the 46th over, Hazell provided a final flourish. Her 52-ball 33 lifted England past 200, but Bisht bowled her in the final over to set India a target of 208.



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