By Michelangelo Jacobus
THE Indian women cricketers did just enough with bat and ball to defeat England by 11 runs in their warm-up match yesterday at the Providence National Stadium. and then restricted England to 133 for 8.
After winning the toss, India elected to bat and managed a challenging total of 144 for 6, a par total on a bouncy Providence pitch which seemed a batting paradise.
They got off to a brisk start, but in the second over, Smriti Mandhana, who played a couple of attractive cuts through the offside, holed out to midwicket off the bowling of Natalie Sciver with the score on 14.
Jemimah Rodrigues and opener Mitali Raj then combined to take their team past 50 before the 18-year-old Rodrigues was out caught off of Heather Knight for 21 after getting a start.
Raj was the next to go and this triggered a mini-collapse as Vida Krishnamurthy (3) and Dayalam Hemalatha (0) soon followed her back to the pavilion with india in trouble at 70 for 5.
India’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur led from the front with an unbeaten half century (62 not out) and combined with Deepti Sharma (18) to bail India out with a partnership of 54.
Kaur’s knock was especially fluent, laced with six boundaries and three maximums; she almost single-handedly ensured that India ended with a challenging total of 144 for the loss of six wickets.
Spinner Heather Knight, who is also captain, was the pick of the English bowlers and helped restrict India with figures of two wickets for just 9 runs off of 2.1 overs; she was supported by Danielle Hazell, who picked up two wickets for 28 runs off of three overs, while Sophie Ecclestone and Natalie Sciver had one wicket each.
In response, the English got off to a slow start which set the tone for the rest of the innings. Openers Danielle Wyatt and Tamsin Beaumont combined for 32 runs before the latter was caught in the deep by Deepti Sharma off the bowling of spinner Radha Yadav for 12.
Natalie Sciver then joined Wyatt and together they saw England past 50 before Sciver was stumped by the keeper Tania Bhatya off of Poonam Yadav with the score at 51. That brought Skipper Knight to the crease and she barely lasted three deliveries before she became Poonam’s second victim.
Despite the wickets tumbling all around her, Wyatt held her own and scored a resilient 54 off of 53 deliveries, striking just two fours before she was out, caught and bowled by Deepti Sharma, at a critical juncture to leave England at 108-5 in the 16th over.
No other batter put up any sort of resistance despite a couple of them getting starts; Laura Winfield made 19 before she too was out caught in the deep and that signalled the beginning of the end for England.
Jenny Gunn was stumped off the last delivery of the match with England 11 runs shy of India’s total.
Poonam Yadav stood out for the Indian bowlers, claiming 3 for 20 off her four overs and she was ably supported by Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma who had figures of 2 for 21 (four overs) and 2 for 28 (four overs), respectively.
India will start their T20 World Cup campaign tomorrow at the Providence Stadium against New Zealand at 11:00hrs.