Spin strangle, Dunkley power England to T20I series win against India

Sophia Dunkley and Sophie Ecclestone were key to England winning. © Getty Images

A disciplined bowling performance followed by a clinical chase saw England maintain their winning record at home in T20Is against India as they clinched the three-match series 2-1 in Bristol on Thursday. Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn and Bryony Smith contained India with the ball before Sophia Dunkley scored 49 to lead the chase as England won by seven wickets.

Jones’ risk reaps rewards

Amy Jones opted to open the bowling with Smith’s off spin with Lauren Bell not picked in the playing XI and she completely deceived Shafali Verma off the second delivery but Jones missed the stumping opportunity.

Smith herself dropped a tough return catch off the very next ball in what was an all action first over. Verma continued to chance her arm recklessly and her high-risk approach cost eventually as she was cleaned up for five by Issy Wong, who replaced Bell, with a well-disguised slower ball.

Smith got the big wicket of Smriti Mandhana for nine in her second over as the in-form opener stepped out and connected decently but Sophie Ecclestone took a fine diving catch at long on.

S Meghana, who was brought into the Indian XI in place of Kiran Navgire, had a tortuous time in the middle as she fell for a nine-ball duck, with Danielle Wyatt taking a high-quality diving catch on the leg side boundary after making good ground.

India’s spin struggles return

Dayalan Hemalatha’s struggles continued as she fell for a duck too as the impressive Glenn had her caught behind. Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti Sharma then tried to get India’s inning back on track but India had slumped to 35 for 5 after 10 overs as Glenn dismissed Kaur for the second time in three matches. Kaur was bowled again after stepping out by one that didn’t turn and skidded on for five off 14 balls.

Sharma fought valiantly but England kept giving nothing away as Ecclestone then got into the act and dismissed Sneh Rana LBW for eight with a full delivery. Sharma’s lone vigil came to an end on 24 when she was stumped by Jones, who brought up 50 T20I dismissals, off the frugal Sophie Ecclestone.

Late flurry of fours

The early spurt of wickets saw India relegate Richa Ghosh and Pooja Vastrakar to no. 8 and no. 9 in the batting order inspite of their big hitting potential but the duo made an immediate impact for India after their arrival to the crease.

India had limped to 79 for seven at the end of 17 overs with just four boundaries but Ghosh’s 33 off 22 and Vastrakar’s unbeaten 19* from 11 balls saw them add 43 in the last three overs to finish with 122 for eight.

Ghosh struck the rapid Wong for three fours in an over, while Vastrakar was severe on Freya Davies, plundering 15 runs in the final over.

Clinical Dunkley leads the chase

With little over a run a ball needed, England’s aggressive opening pair of Dunkley and Danielle Wyatt continued their good form as Dunkley found the boundary regularly and attacked the bowlers, while Wyatt ran hard between the wickets. The pair put on a 70-run partnership before Wyatt holed out to long on off Rana for 22. Dunkley fell soon after as she was bowled by Vastrakar after playing out a maiden over from Radha Yadav when stuck on 49.

Yadav only conceded 14 runs off her four overs and also bowled Jones for three but Alice Capsey ensured there were no further hiccups as she put the pressure back on the Indian bowlers with some innovative strokeplay and saw England across the finish line with a rapid 38* off 24 balls.

Brief Scores: India 122/8 in 20 overs (Richa Ghosh 33, Deepti Sharma 24; Sophie Ecclestone 3/25, Sarah Glenn 2/11) lost to England 126/3 in 18.2 overs (Sophia Dunkley 49, Alice Capsey 38*; Radha Yadav 1/14, Pooja Vastrakar 1/16) by seven wickets POTM: Sophie Ecclestone POTS: Sophia Dunkley