3rd ODI – Mithali Raj’s Half-Century guides India to a Nail-Bitting Finish at Worcester

Nail biting all around described the final few minutes of the third and the final ODI between India and England that was played on Saturday at Worcester. The match went all the way down the wire as India managed to sneak in a handy win in the Odi series to keep their hopes alive in this multi format affair. The match was truncated to 47 overs a side due to rains just before the start of the play but fortunately the rain God decided to keep mum and did not stick its head out all throughout the day.

 

India's Mithali Raj Becomes Leading Run Scorer Across Formats In Women's International Cricket
India’s Mithali Raj Becomes Leading Run Scorer Across Formats In Women’s International Cricket. PC: Getty Images

 

Winning the toss for the first time in the Odi series, India captain Mithali Raj opted to field first. The in-form English opener Tammy Beaumont was sent packing for a duck as Shikha pandey trapped her leg before wicket. The early wicket of Beaumont did not deter the hosts and Lauren Winfield-Hill and skipper Heather Knight came together to put 67 runs for the second wicket, the highest partnership for England. The duo fought hard as it was a difficult pitch to bat on. Sneh Rana who has so far had an amazing outing picked up the wicket of Winfield-Hill to bring England’s vice captain Natalie Sciver to the middle. Sciver looked fluent as she marched to 49, falling one short of a well-deserved century, courtesy of a brilliant catch by Smiti Mandhana at deep mid-wicket. Sophia Dunkley and Amy Jones looked to take their side to a formidable score but perished against the run of play. Deepti Sharma got rid of the two, in addition to Sciver, and put brakes on the England scoring. Towards the end Kate Cross played a nice little cameo as she smashed 16 off 9, including one six and a boundary. At the end of 50 overs, England were bowled out for 219, setting India a target of 220, which was one run short of the visitors first innings score in the second ODI.

India got off to a steady start as the opening pair of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana ensured that they saw off the new ball. It was a rare sight to see Verma playing second fiddle to Mandhana as the southpaw looked to be the aggressor between the two. The 17 year old’s not so fluent innings came to an end when she tried to loft one, unfortunately ending in the safe hands of Knight. Jemimah Rodrigues who got her second game of the series started slow and succumbed to pressure throwing away her wicket just at the wrong time. Her wicket not only added to the scoreboard woes but also the worries of the think tank as they still haven’t found India’s number 3 batter. Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur came together again with close to 140 runs to get. While Mithali continued to play the anchor role, Harmanpreet was felt wanted throughout her innings. To break the shackles she tried to reverse sweep one off Knight, which hit her on the pads. To her horror the umpire judged her out. Mithali and Harmanpreet decided not to review the decision. After a few moments when the replay was u on the big screen it was clearly seen that the impact of the ball was outside the off stump. Mithali remained unscathed after the error in judgement and continued with her business. She joined forces with Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana and in the end with Jhulan Goswami to see India home. Sneh Rana played some fearless cricket to take India close to the target. However she could see the team home as she went for an ambitious shot on the last ball of the penultimate over.  Meanwhile Mithali went past former England captain Charlotte Edwards to become the leading run getter across all formats in women’s cricket. She also scored her 58th ODI half century and the third consecutive half century in the series.

India chased down the target with three balls to spare, winning the match by four wickets. Though the Women in Blue lost the ODI series 1-2, they have everything to play for going into the three match T20I series. After the completion of the one off Test and the three match ODI series, England have 6 points and India have 4 points. India will have to win the T20I series 3-0 to win the multi-format series, while England can afford a 2-1 win in the upcoming series.

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Brief Scores: England 219 all out in 47 overs (N Sciver 49; D Sharma 3-47) lost to India 220-6 in 46.3 overs (M Raj 75 not out; S Ecclestone 2-36) by four wickets

I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.

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