Beaumont, Sciver, bowlers humble the visitors as India go down without a fight in first ODI
Number one ranked ODI batter Tammy Beaumont continued her imperious form from the New Zealand tour and stitched an unbeaten 119-run partnership with an equally impressive Natalie Sciver to help England to a comprehensive eight-wicket win in the first ODI after a collective bowling performance led by Sophie Ecclestone limited India to a moderate score at the County Cricket Ground in Bristol on Sunday (June 27). Beaumont’s stroke-filled innings was full of her trademark sweeps and inside out shots against the spinners but she also combined them with drives down the ground against the pacers.
Chasing 202 to win in good batting conditions, England got out of the blocks quickly despite the loss of Lauren Winfield-Hill in the fifth over. Winfield-Hill wafted at a delivery outside the off-stump and was caught behind off Goswami after hitting the pacer for two consecutive deliveries in the previous over. Once Winfield-Hill was dismissed, Beaumont took over and smashed back-to-back fours off Shikha Pandey when she overpitched and then repeated the feat against Pooja Vastrakar in her first over when the bowler erred in length and bowled too full.
When Ekta Bisht came into the attack, Beaumont brought out her sweep shots in the first two deliveries of the left-armer as England finished with 61 for one at the end of the power play. She took on Deepti Sharma’s off-spin as well and rapidly progressed to 45 off 45 balls even as Bisht got a tossed-up delivery to dip and go through the defence of Heather Knight.
However, the loss of skipper Knight didn’t affect the momentum of England and they continued to attack the Indian bowlers with Sciver starting with two boundaries against Bisht. In the 19th over, Beaumont got to her first fifty against India when she swept Sharma to deep square-leg for yet another boundary. England were looking comfortably placed with the score of 101 for two at the end of the over.
Introduction of Harmanpreet Kaur in to the attack in the next over almost paid dividends for India but unfortunately for them Bisht dropped Sciver’s top-edge at fine-leg. From there, boundaries kept coming with Indian bowlers bowling a bit too full in search for wickets. With Sciver finding her way at the other end with boundaries against Kaur and Pandey, Beaumont kept using her feet against the spinners when she wasn’t getting down to sweep them through the leg-side. She stepped down against Bisht and launched her over cover to take herself into the 70s.
Needing only 49 runs from the last 20 overs, Sciver also employed the sweep against Bisht before bringing up her fifty with a couple off Sharma in the 32nd over. Post fifty, Sciver went on a rampage against the spinners with a flurry of boundaries including a straight six off Kaur as England rapidly raced towards the target. In the 35th over, Beaumont launched Kaur for six to level the scores before a wide handed England a comprehensive eight wicket win with plenty of overs to spare.
Earlier, put into bat in blustery conditions, India opener Shafali Verma, on her debut, was her usual flamboyant self while Smriti Mandhana took her time at the other end. Verma started with a boundary through mid-on off Anya Shrubsole in the second over. Although Mandhana played a trademark boundary through covers, she was subdued in the early overs while Verma tried to take on Katherine Brunt. As in the Test match, Brunt troubled Verma with some short-pitched stuff even as she managed to hit her back-to-back boundaries in the fifth over. But the experienced pacer had the last laugh when she had Verma in an awkward position while trying to play a bouncer and had her caught at mid-on in the same over.
Post Verma’s dismissal, Mandhana and Punam Raut struggled to get the scoreboard moving and could add only four more runs in the next 29 deliveries before Shrubsole castled Mandhana when the left-hander tried to cut a ball that was on the stumps. Raut and Raj took their time trying to rebuild the innings as they struggled to rotate the strike and despite the occasional boundaries, England managed to keep the visitors on a tight leash.
However, the duo brought up their fifty-run stand in the 23rd over of India’s innings when Raut hit Kate Cross through mid-wicket for a four. But Cross gave the hosts the breakthrough when she sent Raut back to the pavilion for 32. India soon lost another wicket in the form of Kaur with Sophie Ecclestone getting her caught behind with a straighter one for just a single.
From 84 for four, Raj and Sharma added another 65 runs from 85 balls to resurrect India to 149 for five in 41.3 overs. In the process, Raj got to her 63rd fifty in ODIs with a boundary off Shrubsole but saw her partner depart in the same over when Sharma was trapped in front for 30 off 46. Post her fifty, Indian skipper upped the ante in the company of Pooja Vastrakar and added 31 runs in quick time.
Just as it looked like Raj would open up more, India lost her to another straighter one from Ecclestone as she was bowled for 72 off 108 balls. Post Raj’s dismissal, India could add only 20 more runs from the last 27 balls and they finished on 201 for eight from the stipulated fifty overs.
For England, Ecclestone returned with the most impressive figures of three for 40 from her ten overs while Brunt and Shrubsole took two wickets each.
Brief scores: India 201 for 8 in 50 overs (Mithali Raj 72; Sophie Ecclestone 3/40) lost to England 202/2 in 34.5 overs (Tammy Beaumont 87*, Natalie Sciver 74*) by 8 wickets