MOUNT MAUNGANUI: England earned their first win of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 with a four-wicket victory over India in Tauranga on Wednesday.
Off-spinner Charlie Dean delivered career-best figures of four for 23 to bundle India out for 134, as seven batters failed to get past single figures.
Nat Sciver’s 45 from 46 balls helped rescue England from four for two in reply as the defending champions chased down the modest total with 18.4 overs to spare.
The free-scoring Smriti Mandhana lost her opening partner Yastika Bhatia four overs in as Anya Shrubsole earned her 100th ODI wicket clean-bowling Bhatia for eight off 11.
Sophia Dunkley showed it was finally to be a good day in the field for England as she hit the stumps with a direct hit, but Mithali Raj was safely home before taking a low catch three balls later to dismiss Raj for one.
Shrubsole went 11 balls without conceding a run, but India’s patience did not pay off as Deepti Sharma went for a 10-ball duck as England got a run out, Kate Cross finding the stumps to reduce India to 28 for three.
Spin was brought into the attack in the 14th over as Sophie Ecclestone ran in for the first time since moving top of the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Rankings for ODI Bowlers.
But it was her spin twin Dean who took a wicket first, dismissing Harmanpreet Kaur for 14 from 26 balls as she nicked behind to wicketkeeper Amy Jones before Sneh Rana fell exactly the same way two balls later to give Dean a double wicket maiden.
Mandhana brought up the first boundary for eight overs as she sent Ecclestone to mid-off before the Spinner got revenge three balls later dismissing her LBW.
Despite calling for the review, there was no reprieve for Mandhana as India slipped to 71 for six.
Dean thought she had her third as Pooja Vastrakar was given out leg before but the review showed the impact was outside the line. It did not matter as Dean dismissed her two balls later in the same way, a review not able to save Vastrakar this time.
India went into survival mode and the run-rate slowed as Dean and Ecclestone bowled eight overs in a row each before Kate Cross came on and was hit for the first six of the game, Jhulan Goswami striking the ball 77 metres down the ground.
Nat Sciver provided the next wicket, another run out as the highest partnership between Goswami and Richa Ghosh (33) was broken before Goswami went in the same Cross over, sending a catch straight to Danni Wyatt at backward point.
India’s innings then came to an end as Meghna Singh became Dean’s fourth victim to bring up her best ODI figures of four for 23 and reduce India to 134 all out.
Wyatt’s poor start to life as a World Cup opener continued as she was dismissed for one as Sneh Rana took a great catch at slip before Tammy Beaumont was given out LBW on review for Goswami’s 250th wicket in ODIs.
Sciver then survived by the barest of margins as she edged a bobbling ball onto the foot of the wickets but the bails did not move.
That proved crucial, as she made use of her second life, putting on 65 runs with Heather Knight before she was tamely dismissed by Vastrakar for 45 from 46 balls as she sent a ballooning catch to Goswami at midwicket.
After scoring four from her first 25 balls, Amy Jones wanted to get the match done before sunset, following Goswami’s lead and sending Gayakwad back down the ground for six, but she went the very next ball as Kaur took a wonderful stretching catch to leave England on 102 for four.
Knight went on to earn her 23rd ODI fifty from 66 balls as she and Dunkley found the boundary with increasing regularity, Dunkley fell for 17 before Katherine Brunt for a duck as Singh brought about a late England wobble.
Captain Knight was there still, however, and Ecclestone clubbed a four to see England to their first win by four wickets.