Led by Harmanpreet Kaur’s fifth ODI century, India women thumped England by 88 runs, at the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury, in the second ODI, to secure their maiden limited overs series in the country in 23 years. The Indian skipper registered her second highest ODI score – an unbeaten 111-ball 143, an innings which included 18 boundaries and 4 sixes.
It was a quintessential Harmanpreet innings progression, shifting gears as it progressed. Having brought up her half-century in 67 balls and century off 100 balls, she clubbed six boundaries and three sixes in the last 11 balls of her innings to power India to 333 for 5 – their highest ODI score against England, with all of the five bowlers except Charlotte Dean conceding more than six runs an over.
It wasn’t always that bad for the hosts, who elected to field after winning the toss. Shafali Verma, after stroking two early boundaries, was cleaned up on 8 by Kate Cross’s incoming delivery. However, Smriti Mandhana didn’t hold back on the attack. The southpaw crunched four boundaries and a six and even crossed the 3000 ODI-run mark en route her knock of 40 before she was trapped legbefore by Sophie Ecclestone’s left-arm spin. The southpaw, however, had steadied the innings with two handy partnerships in the company of Yastika Bhatia and Harmanpreet.
Nonetheless, at 99 for 3, India still had a lot of build on, and the Indian skipper ensured the momentum wasn’t handed over to the hosts. In the company of Harleen Deol, she added 113 runs for the fourth wicket. While the duo played with controlled aggression through the course of their 125-ball alliance, runs kept coming at a fair clip. Erratic lines and a slew of wide balls helped their endeavour as India stood on a steady ground by the time Harleen was dismissed in the 40th over, on 58 – her maiden ODI fifty.
Pooja Vastrakar was promoted to help India pick some quick runs. By then, Harmanpreet had also started to cut loose. Barring Lauren Bell’s last over, in which she conceded only three runs, none of the other bowlers were spared of the onslaught. Apart from consistently attacking the legside, she smartly foiled England’s plans by picking gaps on the offside as well. Freya Kemp, who was the prime victim of Harmanpreet’s carnage in the death overs, returned figures of 1 for 82. In the last three overs, England conceded 62 runs.
In response, England were dented early in the chase – this time courtesy Harmanpreet’s direct throw which found Tammy Beaumont short in her attempted single. Soon enough, Renuka Singh knocked off Sophia Dunkley’s offstump with an incoming delivery to leave the hosts down on 12 for 2 in the fourth over.
Alice Capsey’s counter attack helped England pull themselves back from a poor position, but Indian bowlers kept chipping in with wickets quickly. Emma Lamb was trapped legbefore by another incoming delivery from Renuka in the eighth over to help India keep control of the proceedings.
Capsey and Danni Wyatt threatened to provide a fight with their attacking display. However, Capsey’s innings was cut short on 39 when she attempted to hit Deepti Sharma over the infield, only to mistime it to the fielder at mid off. Wyatt went on to register her half-century and cracked a 58-ball 65 before Renuka’s yorker cleaned her up as well and handed the pacer her third of the four wickets on the day.
With victory firmly in sight, Harleen, D Hemalatha and Shafali also rolled their arms over for a few overs, and combined to return with three wickets in 32 balls as England were bundled out for 245.