ENG(W) vs IND(W), 1st ODI: India 232 for 3 (Mandhana 91, Harmanpreet 74*, Bhatia 50) beat England 227 for 7 (Davidson-Richards 50*, Wyatt 43, Deepti 2-33) by seven wickets
A strong and classy knock of 91 from vice-captain Smriti Mandhana fueled India to triumph after their bowlers confined England to 227 for 7 in the first ODI in Hove. Almost everything went ideal for India after they won the toss and decided to bowl on a slow pitch. They got early wickets. They kept things tight. Also, they were so ruthless they permitted just a single partnership to cross fifty runs in the entire innings. If that wasn’t a sufficient centre, when it was their chance to bat, three of the top four – Mandhana, Yastika Bhatia and Harmanpreet Kaur – hit half-centuries to seal the chase with 34 balls to spare.
India’s bowling was a collective performance from the quicks and spinners that left England without any trace of momentum in a stop-start innings and the circumstances were such that low bounce accounted for two wickets. The hosts had slipped to 94 for 5 and afterward 128 for 6 and were gazing at a much lower total until Danni Wyatt hit 43 and Alice Davidson-Richards made unbeaten 50 towards the end.
India had England’s players on a leash right from the start with the return of Jhulan Goswami following six months for her farewell series. Emma Lamb whipped Meghna for two fours through the leg side before she edged a bouncer behind off a similar bowler in the eighth over. Nine balls later, Goswami’s inswinger caught Tammy Beaumont lbw for 7 off 21 with England having crept to only 26 for 2 in 10 overs.
Sophia Dunkley, who scored vigorously against India during the T20Is, and debutant Alice Capsey steered the hosts through a steady period however a spin squeeze from both ends ended the 43-run stand when Harmanpreet took a one-handed catch at short midwicket to send Capsey back. In what would become a pattern for the whole England innings, when it seemed Wyatt and Dunkley were rebuilding steadily, Dunkley first handed a clear catch to cover off Harleen Deol and a ball that kept extremely low from Rajeshwari Gayakwad redirected away from Amy Jones foot to hit the stumps, leaving England 94 for 5.
India lost Shafali Verma for 1 however Bhatia and Mandhana’s 96-run stand kept them ticking at over 5.50 an over. Assuming Bhatia’s innings saw a few half possibilities and edges land securely, Mandhana’s was loaded with elegant cover drives that fetched her regular boundaries. She struck three of those one after another off Kate Cross and Issy Wong. India were 59 for 1 toward the end of the powerplay, having hit 11 fours contrasted with England’s three in the same period. Conditions looked much better for scoring during the chase and Bhatia traded out, top-edging a six and clacking three additional fours to raise a 45-ball fifty. She fell following however, when she descended the track and missed one from Dean.
Mandhana was confident as ever and along with Harmanpreet eased along with the asking rate around four an over. Harmanpreet took out her trademark sweeps and Mandhana crunched Dean back down the ground for her 24th 50 years. England likewise attempted a spin squeeze with Ecclestone, Dean and Lamb however it didn’t work. With an easy 71 required off 20 overs, Harmanpreet scooped Cross for a four and Mandhana smoked Wong over long-on for six to close in on hundred, however a cross-batted swipe against Cross brought about a top edge and Mandhana was caught at mid-on to miss the mark.
Only 30 runs left for victory from that point, Harmanpreet raised a patient 80-ball fifty before hitting the winning runs with a sweep for six.