Hyderabad: As the Indian men’s team made history by winning the T20 series in Newzealand for the first time, the women’s team were not behind too. They won the first match of the T-20 Tri-series between India, Australia and England at Canberra ahead of the Women’s T20S World Cup in March.
Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss for India and elected to bowl first as the women in blue were all set for their biggest challenges. The left armer, Rajeshwari Gayakwad started the proceedings for India and struck early as England’s Wicket-keeper batswomen, Jones was caught by Harmanpreet for 1. She then sent Wyatt packing as Shikha Pandey caught her for 4. England was down to 9/2.
Natalie Sciver and Heather knight took control of the proceedings but for not so long as Radha Yadav dismissed Sciver for 20. Struggling at 38/3, Skipper Knight and Tammy Beaumont accelerated the England innings and made sure they posted a respectable total. Skipper Heather Knight scored a gritty 67 to take England to 147/7 in their 20 overs. Gayakwad, Deepthi Sharma and Shikhar Pandey picked two wickets each.
Having to chase 148 for victory, Openers Smriti Mandhana and 15-year-old batting sensation, Shafali Verma gave a decent start for India and put up 27 for the first wicket until Mandhana fell for 15. Jemimah Rodrigues walked into bat and looked in right touch. Shafali too on the other end was striking the ball well.
However, Shafali and Jemimah couldn’t convert their good starts to big innings and fell in a span of just 18 runs. India was down to 82/3. India’s pinch-hitter Veda Krishnamurthy and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur were given the responsibility of finishing the innings, but Veda got out for 7. Harmanpreet, on the other side, stood like a rock and made sure she stays till the end as the situation was turning tricky.
Wicket-keeper Tanya Bhatia couldn’t contribute much either as she got out for 11. It was all on Harmanpreet and all-rounder Deepthi Sharma, and they did not disappoint. Harmanpreet Kaur hit an inside-out cover drive for a six when India needed four off 4. She was unbeaten on 42* and was also the player of the Match for her match-winning innings.