The Indian women’s cricket team had a heartbreaking start to their tour of West Indies as they went down in the first ODI by just a run. Opting to bat first, the hosts notched up 225 runs in their quota of overs at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, which proved a run too many for the Indian Eves.
The Indians had a bright memorable start to the series, as they bowled tight lines and lines, making run-scoring difficult for the rivals. After 25.3 overs, West Indies were 77 for 3, with Shikha Pandey and Jhulan Goswami ensuring the runs were not easy to come by in a spirited show of fast bowling upfront. However, the presence of skipper Stafanie Taylor at the crease shifted momentum, as she broke the shackles to score 94 runs in 91 balls with the help of eight fours and two sixes at a strike rate of over 103.
A timely contribution from Chedean Nation, who made 43 in 55, helped negate the spin threat in the middle overs, as Ekta Bisht and Deepti Sharma combined to give away 96 runs in 17 overs for just three wickets. A strong finish from West Indies meant that they finished with a respectable score.
The Indian team, sans Smriti Mandhana, who is still nursing an injury, started off positively with openers Jemimah Rodrigues and Priya Punia piling on 78 runs in 21.1 overs. Once the former was dismissed, Punam Raut combined with Punia to put on 46 runs and take the score above 120. However, after the two were sent back, the other batters were unable to hold their end up as the Indians collapsed from 170 for 2 to 224 all out.
The dying stages of the game were full of action with India needing 5 to get off the last 4 balls with one wicket in hand. Poonam Yadav was given a reprieve despite being short of her crease on the second ball of the last over. The absence of a third umpire meant that the Indian, who should have been run out, was asked to carry on, thus giving them hopes of clinching an unlikely win.
However, it was short-lived as Yadav was sent back by Anisa Mohammed, who grabbed a five-wicket haul, in the last ball of the innings, when India needed just 2 to win and a run to tie.
It was India’s second 1-run loss in the history of ODIs, having earlier lost by the margin in 2003 when they were unable to chase 209 against England at Lincoln.
The second ODI will be staged on Sunday at the same venue.
Brief scores: West Indies Women (225/7, Stafanie Taylor 94, Shikha Pandey 2/38) defeated India Women (224/10, Priya Punia 75, Anisa Mohammed 5/46) by 1 run.