Smriti Mandhana-Harmanpreet Kaur's centuries guide India to massive win
Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur scored centuries for India © Getty Images
India brought their World Cup campaign back on track after the loss against New Zealand on Thursday as they registered a convincing win by 155 runs against West Indies at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday (March 12). Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur's record centuries saw India notch their highest-ever total at the World Cup after Yastika Bhatia powered them to a quick start with her brisk cameo. Sneh Rana led India's bowling effort as she took the big wickets of Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews after they put on a 100-run partnership.
Yastika flies out of the blocks
There were plenty of questions around India’s intent or the lack of it after the New Zealand match but there was no lack of the same from Bhatia as she pulled Chinelle Henry to the boundary thrice in the second over of the match.
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West Indies’ new ball bowlers were guilty of bowling too short and Bhatia was strong on the pull. Stafanie Taylor reacted quickly by introducing Matthews’ off spin in the fifth over of the match. Taylor then bowled Shakera Selman in the next over and the vastly experienced bowler struck immediately as she induced a leading edge from Bhatia, who scored a quickfire 31 off 21 balls.
All action Matthews
That brought Mithali Raj to the crease, whose poor run of form continued, as she flicked Matthews straight to Shamilia Connell at mid-wicket after scoring 5. Deepti Sharma then walked in and tried to be aggressive from the outset, hitting a couple of boundaries on either side of the wicket. However, her stay was short-lived as she walked back for 15 after Matthews took a sensational catch at slip off Anisa Mohammed.
Mandhana-Kaur make it big
At 78 for three, India needed a big partnership and Mandhana and Harmanpreet delivered that as they played out Matthews and Anisa, who posed the biggest threat and chose to attack the West Indies pacers.
After negotiating Mathhews and Anisa’s overs without taking any risks, the Indian duo stepped on the accelerator post the 30 over mark as both of them regularly stepped out of the crease and hit the pacers back over their heads.
Mandhana was the first to bring up her hundred after surviving a tough chance on 94 when she hit an aerial shot off Matthews to deep mid-wicket, where Alleyne could not hold on to the opportunity.
Records left, right and centre
Having played out the middle overs without any major alarms, the Indian duo went into overdrive as they put on India’s best-ever fourth wicker partnership in ODIs and Mandhana also brought up her century by pulling a short Matthews delivery behind square for four.
Mandhana had also scored a 100 against West Indies in the last World Cup, becoming the fourth player after Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine and Meg Lanning to score two ODI hundreds against West Indies. Mandhana also became the third Indian after Mithali and Harmanpreet to score two hundreds at ODI World Cups.
Harmanpreet then brought up her own ton as she became the first Indian to score three ODI hundreds in World Cups, bringing up her century in the 47th over. Mandhana and Harmanpreet eventually put on 184 for the fourth wicket before Mandhana was dismissed for 123 after failing to clear mid-wicket with a pull.
Harmanpreet went on to score 109 before being caught behind off Aaliyah Alleyne, who bowled impressively at the death to restrict the Indian batters in the last few overs. India, however, notched 317 for eight, easily their best total ever at the World Cup and their second best in all ODIs. India’s total was also the highest at this edition of the World Cup.
Boom boom blast
Coming off wins in both their previous matches, West Indies were even quicker out of the blocks as they put on 50 runs in the first five overs. Dottin and Matthews both targeted Jhulan Goswami, who continued to stick to a fuller length inspite of the pitch not offering any assistance.
Mithali then turned to Deepti and Rajeshwari Gayakwad to try and rein the run rate in but the West Indies openers continued to hit merrily over the top as they brought up the 100 in just 12 overs, easily the quickest in this edition of the World Cup.
Rana to the rescue again
Sneh Rana then made an immediate impact as she struck with just her second ball to remove Dottin for an excellent 62, which came off just 46 balls.
Dottin’s exit saw the dot balls pile up and the pressure started to tell as both Kycia Knight (5) and Stafanie Taylor (1) were dismissed in quick succession by Meghna Singh, who came back strongly after an expensive first spell.
With both Dottin and Taylor departing in quick succession, the onus of the chase was then on Matthews and Shemaine Campbelle, who was coming off a Player of the Match display against England.
Rana, though, continued her excellent spell by accounting for Matthews, who scored 43 off 36 before trying to cut a delivery that was too close to her, only to end up edging it to Richa Ghosh, who continued her excellent display behind the stumps in this tournament.
GOAT Jhulan Goswami
India saved the best record of the day for the fag end as Goswami went top of the list of wicket-takers in ODI World Cups, scalping her 40th when she accounted for Anisa, who laboured to two off 27 balls.
West Indies’ chase then turned into a matter of reducing the defeat margin as Rana continued to bowl a probing spell to eventually finish with figures of three for 22, including taking the last wicket to hand India a huge win.