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Women’s Cricket: India beat England by 7 wickets

Smriti Mandhana’s 91 and contrasting half-centuries from Yastika Bhatia (50) and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (74 not out) put India 1-0 ahead in the three-match ODI series against hosts England in Hove. Having opted to field first, a disciplined bowling effort from India saw England being restricted to 227/7. Mandhana then put on two 90-plus partnerships to help India to a comfortable seven wicket victory, and thereby two ICC Women’s ODI Championship points.

India’s new-ball bowlers, Meghana Singh and Jhulan Goswami, struck in back to back overs to leave England reeling at 21/2 in the ninth over before the hosts eventually managed only 26 from their powerplay. Alice Capsey and Sophia Dunkley were able to arrest the slide with their 43-run stand for the third wicket.

The spinners got into the act soon after and triggered a mini collapse, where England lost three in the space of 9.3 overs and for the addition of just 30 runs. Danni Wyatt, who held one end amidst this collapse, eventually was bowled by Deepti Sharma seven away from her half-century. At 128/6 England looked in deep trouble but found resistance from Alive Davidson Richards (50*) and Sophie Ecclestone. The latter was the dominant force in the 50-run partnership for the seventh wicket, making 31 off just 33 before Deepti trapped her LBW.

Davidson-Richards carried on and added 49 runs more for the unbroken eight-wicket partnership with Charlotte Dean (24* off 21). If it weren’t for the lower order runs, England would have been well below the 227/7 they managed. That, however, didn’t prove enough.

Kate Cross’s early breakthrough for England notwithstanding, India seemed hardly troubled in the chase – led admirably by their vice-captain. Mandhana missed out on a century by just nine but laid a solid platform for the successful chase in the 96-run alliance with Yastika Bhatia and a 99-run with her captain, Harmanpreet.

The opener hit 10 fours and six in her 99-ball knock, while Bhatia briefly overshadowed her in her quickfire 47-ball half-century studded with eight boundary hits and a six. Mandhana led the way again as Harmanpreet took her time settling in. But the India captain accelerated after getting to her half-century, off 80 deliveries, and en route taking India past the 200-run mark. Her next 24 runs came off just 14 balls, included three boundaries in as many overs and the winning shot that she hacked over deep midwicket fence to wrap it up in style.

Brief scores: England Women 227/7 in 50 overs (Alive Davidson-Richards 50*, Danni Wyatt 43; Deepti Sharma 2-33) lost to India 232/3 in 44.2 overs (Smriti Mandhana 91, Harmanpreet Kaur 74*, Yastika Bhatia 50; Kate Cross 2-43) by 7 wickets

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