Opener Smriti Mandhana hit an unbeaten stroke-filled fifty after taking three wickets off the off-spinner Sneh Rana to hand India Women a comprehensive eight-wicket win over England in the second T20 International to level the series 1-1 here. England’s decision to bat first on Tuesday night backfired as the Indian bowlers stepped up their performance to reduce the hosts to 54 for five inside 10 overs.
England fell into a tight spot in the opening overs, losing wickets at regular intervals, before teenager Freya Kemp (51 off 37 balls) and Maia Bouchier (34 off 26) shared 65 runs for the sixth wicket to resurrect their innings. While the 17-year-old Kemp hit three fours and as many sixes during the knock of the rear guard, Bouchier decorated her innings with four boundaries. But once Rana broke a dangerous looking partnership by picking up the wicket of Bouchier, who was bowled by Richa Ghosh in the 18th over, the writing was on the wall for England.
But Kemp tried her best and used her long handles to great effect to pick up 23 runs in the remaining 15 balls in the company of Sophie Ecclestone to power England to 142 for six and at least give their bowlers something to defend. Rana was the main destroyer for India, returning with good figures of 3 for 24 from her four overs, while Renuka Singh (1/30) and Deepti Sharma (1/21) claimed two wickets at the top. India started their run chase in brilliant fashion as Mandhana (79 not out off 53) and Shafali Verma (20) added 55 runs in the first six overs. Ecclestone finally got the breakthrough for England when Verma edged back to the bowler, who dived to her right to complete a superb caught-and-bowled opportunity. Dayalan Hemalatha (9) again disappointed when Freya Davies cleaned her up 16 balls later. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur (29 off 22) then joined her deputy Mandhana at the crease and the duo played effortlessly, stitching an unbeaten 69 runs for the third wicket to complete the formalities as India 146 for two in 16.4 overs.
In fact, Mandhana hit three boundaries off Davies in the 17th over – first smashing the back covers, then going through mid-wicket and then completing the chase by hitting over the bowler’s head to the long-on boundary. There were no sixes from the Indian batsmen in the match but Mandhana found the fence 13 times while Harmanpreet and Verma hit four boundaries each. It was an ordinary display of bowling from the home side as Ecclestone (1/22) and Davies (1/30) were the only two wickets. England won the first match by nine wickets. The third T20 of the three-match series is played in Bristol on September 15.
England Women: 142 for 6 in 20 overs (Freya Kemp 51 not out, Maia Bouchier 34; Sneh Rana 3/24).
India Women: 146 for 2 in 16.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 79 not out, Harmanpreet Kaur 29 not out; Sophie Ecclestone 1/22).