After a draw in the one-off Test against England Women, India Women started their ODI campaign against the hosts at Bristol on May 27.
Put in to bat first, Indian openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma departed early without troubling the scorers for long. India were positioned at 27/2 in 9.4 overs when bulwark Punam Raut and skipper Mithali Raj started doing the recovery work. Mithali played the anchor role while Punam took the job of a second fiddle.
The duo added 53 runs partnership before Punam gave an easy catch to Sophie Ecclestone off a Kate Cross delivery. Thus, Punam departed for a well made 32 off 61 balls. However, Mithali continued nonchalantly and increased the scoring rate whilst she lacked partners at the other end.
Deepti Sharma, who came into bat at the sixth position, spent some time in the middle as she added 30 runs to the total and briefly supported her captain. Leading from the front, Mithali hit a 108-ball 72 laced with seven boundaries. She could only bat for four overs more after Deepti’s departure and was clean bowled by Ecclestone.
India were positioned at 180/6 in 45.3 overs but the tailenders chipped in a few runs to guide their side to a decent 201/8 in the allotted fifty overs. Ecclestone was the pick of the bowlers for England since she picked up three wickets whilst only conceding 40 runs in her quota of ten overs.
In response, England Women too got off to a faltering start since their opener Lauren Winfield-Hill was dismissed on a Jhulan Goswami delivery for just 16 runs. England skipper Heather Knight tried to play the anchor role as Tammy Beaumont pummeled the Indian bowlers.
Knight had only made 18 runs when she was cleaned up by Ekta Bisht. The English team was in the grove as India could not take any further wickets.
Both Beaumont and Nat Sciver put on an unflappable 119 runs partnership and chased the target in 34.5 overs. The duo completed their half-centuries and gave the opposition a tough time. While Beaumont slammed run-a-ball 87, Sciver scored an exciting 74 off the same number of balls.
With this win by eight wickets, England Women have taken a lead of 1-0 in the three-match ODI series. The next encounter is slated to be played at Taunton on Wednesday (June 30).
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