Mandhana leads the way as India beats England by eight wickets in Derby

Mandhana scored 79 off 53 balls © Getty Images

Smriti Mandhana smashed yet another half-century in the chase to help India level the T20I series against England on Tuesday (September 13). Freya Kemp’s maiden half-century went in vain as the visitors registered their first victory of the tour by eight wickets.

After comfortably winning the first T20I of the series by nine wickets, England’s stand-in captain Amy Jones won the toss and opted to bowl first. India, unchanged for the clash at the County Ground in Derby, got off to a great start as Deepti Sharma got rid of half-centurion from the first game, Sophia Dunkley, for five. Richa Ghosh’s quick hands behind the stumps gave India the early breakthrough they needed.

England suffered another blow when Sneh Rana’s excellent catch at slip sent Danielle Wyatt back to the pavilion off Renuka Singh Thakur for six. England’s troubles continued as Radha Yadav’s impressive work in the field led to a run-out of Alice Capsey in the same over. After three overs in the innings, England were 16 for three. Sharma bowled three overs in the powerplay, giving away just 12 runs. 

Bryony Smith batting at four, welcomed Yadav with a cracking boundary through the covers, followed by another against Rana. That aggression led to her downfall as omnipresent Yadav took a fantastic diving catch to add to England’s worries. With a scoring rate below six, captain Amy Jones unsuccessfully attempted a reverse sweep, only to see disrupted off stump. 

Halfway through the innings, England were struggling at 60 for five when Kemp joined Maia Bouchier. The left-handed batter smashed Rana over mid-on with the second delivery she faced. Bouchier joined the party with two boundaries off Pooja Vastrakar’s second over to keep the scoreboard ticking for the hosts. Kemp clobbered Yadav for the first six of the innings straight down the ground. 

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Vastrakar, Rana, and Sharma bowled well in the middle overs as the pair of Bouchier and Kemp added 65 runs for the sixth wicket. Bouchier tried to up the ante in the death overs, and Ghosh continued her exceptional day behind the stumps with another stumping. Kemp amassed 11 runs in the final over of the innings and became the youngest England player to register a T20I half-century as England posted 142 for six in the first innings. 

India got off to a great start in the chase as Mandhana smashed the first boundary of the innings with a four through backward point. Shafali Verma joined the party with two boundaries in Lauren Bell’s second over of the powerplay. Jones introduced Smith inside the powerplay, but India’s dynamic opening duo went after the young off-spinner. Jones handed the ball to Kemp with India sitting comfortably in the driving seat. The left-handed pacer got smashed for 19 runs in the over, with Mandhana hitting three boundaries. 

A caught and bowled on the last ball of the powerplay by Sophie Ecclestone provided England with a much-needed breakthrough. Even after Verma’s dismissal, Mandhana kept going to put pressure on England’s relatively inexperienced batting line-up. Dayalan Hemalatha, batting at three, tried to support Mandhana, but Freya Davies knocked her off stump for nine. That did not stop Mandhana from taking the game away from the hosts as she completed her half-century off just 36 balls. 

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Mandhana’s partnership of 69 runs took the wind out of England’s defense. Kaur contributed with a handy 29 off 22 balls, including four boundaries. Mandhana clobbered 15 runs off Davies’ final over of the day to register a comprehensive victory for India by eight wickets.

Brief Score: 

England 142/6 in 20 overs (Freya Kemp 51*, Maia Bouchier 34; Sneh Rana 3/24) lost to India 146/2 in 16.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 79*, Harmanpreet Kaur 29*; Sophie Ecclestone 1/22) by eight wickets