India 108/2 Mandhana 62* Hazell 2-17
England 107/10 Wyatt 31 Anuja 3-21
by eight wickets
One could be forgiven for thinking one had traveled back in time to the fifth T2OI between Australia and England that took place on Wednesday. The sixth and final T20I between England and India followed a script similar to that of the previous match. A second batting failure in a row will have England concerned about their impending final against Australia on Saturday.
England chose to bat first after winning the toss: a surprising decision considering 4 out of 5 matches have been won by the chasing teams. Perhaps they wanted to prepare for the eventuality of losing the toss in the final. Amy Jones (15 from 12 balls) started off well but soon top-edged a short ball banged in by Pooja Vastrakar and miscued to short midwicket. Danielle Wyatt was motoring along at 31 from 21 balls. But in the 7th over, she danced down the track and bowler Deepti Sharma completed a sharp catch. In the next over, Poonam Yadav flighted a delivery outside off stump and Tammy Beaumont (10 from 9 balls) mistimed completely to hand an easy catch to Jhulan Goswami.
By the end of over 11, England were 85/4 with Natalie Sciver (15 from 12 balls) feathering an edge while trying to reverse sweep Anuja Patil. Keeper Tania Bhatia did well to stay low and cling on to the catch. The English must have felt slight twinges of unease, the memory of their collapse against Australia still fresh. Their fears were to turn to dismay. England went on to add just 22 runs for the fall of 6 wickets. Radha Yadav added her name to the list of wicket-takers with the wicket of skipper Heather Knight (11 from 12 balls) who tried to cut and was snapped up by Bhatia instead. Poonam collected her second wicket when Alice Davidson-Richards (3 from 6 balls), top-scorer of the last match, deceived by the googly top-edged to Goswami. She finished with a highly economical spell of 2-17.
Katie George departed for a duck when she was caught pinned to the crease lbw by Radha’s arm ball. Harmanpreet Kaur, who had exhorted her team for a better showing in the field, led the way by pulling off a stunning running diving catch from long-off to send Danielle Hazell (3 from 7 balls) back to the pavilion. Fran Wilson (12 from 20 balls) was stumped by Bhatia off Sharma while Tash Farrant (2 from 9 balls) was put out of her misery when she was adjudged lbw after attempting yet another reverse sweep off Patil.
England were all out for 107 in 18.5 overs.
Farrant then came on to bowl and her second ball was a wide which also went for a boundary. She would go on to bowl 4 wides more, an extravagance in a famine of runs. England’s second over also proved to be costly, but in a different way. Smriti Mandhana top-edged a short ball from George to square leg where Beaumont spilled an easy catch to let Mandhana off the hook. When Mithali Raj (6 from 15 balls) slapped one straight to mid-off, England must have seen a slight opening of the door. When Jemimah Rodrigues (7 from 7 balls) too failed to clear mid-off to give Hazell her second wicket, that opening must have become wider than the straits of Gibraltar.
That’s how far the door stayed open once Kaur joined Mandhana at the crease. While Kaur (20 from 31 balls) pottered along, Mandhana (62 from 41 balls) skipped along to yet another half-century taking her series run tally to 208. India won comfortably in the end with 4.1 overs to spare and thus arrested their losing streak of 6 matches in this home season. Anuja Patil was awarded the Player of the Match title.