England registered a convincing win over India on the back of Natalie Sciver and Anya Shrubsole in the T20 tri-series at the Junction Oval in Melbourne. Sciver scored a 50 off 38 balls in England's chase and helped them win by four wickets.
England won the toss and elected to field first. They had a good start as the removed opener, Shafali Verma, on a single-digit score, once again who was trying to steer a length ball but got bowled for eight. Her dismissal brought Jemimah Rodrigues in the middle. But her struggle in the middle continued while Mandhana took the onus on her shoulder and tried to add more runs so that the scoreboard ticking.
The duo added 23 runs before Smriti Mandhana fell for 45. Her stable knock came off 40 balls with 7 fours and a six. Her dismissal was a brilliant piece of work behind the stump from Amy Jones. She was trying to hit the ball to the fine leg region but got a little edge and Jones took a well-judged catch.
After her dismissal, India lost Jemimah and captain Harmanpreet Kaur very cheaply. Rodrigues departed after scoring a 20-ball 23. She tried to drive while stepping out off Anya Shrubsole's length delivery outside the off-stump but missed it. Amy Jones then brilliantly dislodged the bails and cleaned her up.
However, their middle-order failed to contribute as Veda Krishnamurthy (2), Taniya Bhatia (8), Deepti Sharma (9) and Arundhati Reddy (7) failed to reach the double-digit. Meanwhile, 15 runs in the last over off Shrubsole took India to 123/6 in 20 overs. Shrubsole was the pick of the bowlers for England with 3 for 31 whereas Katherine Brunt took 2 wickets for 23.
While chasing 124 runs, England opener Amy Jones failed to get going once again as Rajeshwari Gayakwad removed her in the final ball of the first over with Arundhati Reddy taking a stunner at the mid-wicket. However, Danielle Wyatt and Katherine Brunt who got the chance to bat at number 3 failed to contribute much.
England were 28 for 3 within the powerplay. Although England had a pool of players coming in, India seemed to be happy with quick three wickets. Natalie Sciver and captain Heather Knight stitched a 37-run partnership. With much surprise, Sciver took the upper hand while Knight played the second fiddle.
Knight couldn't do much and fell for 18. However, Sciver along with Fran Wilson added 49 runs for the fifth wicket. Natalie Sciver took on every bowler, smashed 50 off 38 balls with six fours and a maximum before Gayakwad sent her in with a return catch.
England needed 10 runs to win then and Fran Wilson took the side to the finish line with seven balls to spare, remaining unbeaten at 20. Gayakwad finished with the figures of 4-0-23-3. Once again she proved her worth whereas Deepti Sharma showed a brilliant piece of fielding when she dismissed Brunt at the non-striker's end.
India will take on Australia tomorrow at the same venue.
Brief scores: India 123/6 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 45; Anya Shrubsole 3/31) lost to England 124/6 in 18.5 overs (Natalie Sciver 50; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 3/23) by four wickets.