Smriti Mandhana shines as India muscle England to take a 1-0 lead in the ODI series
Despite narrowly losing out the T20I fray after an abysmal fiasco in the series decider, the Women in Blue were back in their majestic glory as they outplayed the hosts for the second time on the tour, courtesy of another valiant display from their most seasoned campaigner, Smriti Mandhana and collective efforts from their bowlers.
India won the toss and put the hosts to bat on a surface that produced some early movement and the Indian bowlers made no mistake in riding on the bandwagon comfortably. Meghna Singh dealt the opening blow as she removed Emma Lamb while an experienced Jhulan Goswami got the better of Tamsin Beaumont with an absolute scorcher.
Dunkley and Capsey put up a decent fight but Sneh Rana returned for a second spell to get the partnership broken. Wickets kept on falling at regular intervals for the hosts until a late show of resilience from Sophie Ecclestone, Alice Davidson-Richards and Charlie Dean swam England ashore with warring numbers on the card.
Chasing 228, India lost Shafali Verma early to Kate Cross but the Indian batters were back with a bang as Smriti Mandhana spearheaded the battery with a calculated half-century from Yastika Bhatia at the other end, propelling India to 99 before the captain produced another reckoning innings. The partnership of Mandhana and Kaur steered them clear of any snag and took India to a comfortable position before Harleen Deol’s anchoring knock laced with a late blitz from the Indian captain saw the team home.
The women in blue will definitely have some work to do with their bowlers after they once again allowed England to run away from the sheer jaws of a low-scoring innings. However, with the current form that Smriti Mandhana has produced, India will be hoping to pull off history in England.