World T20: England prevails over India in a low-scoring thriller

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World T20: England prevails over India in a low-scoring thriller

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Amlan Majumdar

03/22/2016

India limped to an underwhelming score of 90 as Heather Knight and Anya Shrubsole tied down the Indian eves. However, Ekta Bisht produced a stunning spell to pick up four wickets and England were forced harder than expected to reach the target, and condemn India to their second loss by two wickets.

Brief Scores: India 90/8 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 26, Mithali Raj 20; Heather Knight 3/15, Anya Shrubsole 2/12); lost to England 92/8 in 19 overs (Tammy Beaumont 20(18), Natalie Sciver 19(24); Ekta Bisht 4/21, Harmanpreet Kaur 2/22)

Defending a low target of 91, Ekta Bisht gave India a shot in the arm when she dismissed England skipper Charlotte Edwards in the third over, with just 10 runs on the board. However, Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor started to the counter-attack the Indian bowling and England were off to a flying start.

After 5.3 overs England were vanishing out of India's sight at 42/1, as Beaumont hit Harmanpreet Kaur for three consecutive boundaries. But the Dharamsala crowd witnessed a drastic turn of events, after Anuja Patil caught the Englishwoman at midwicket, after her attempted slog sweep went awry.

In the next delivery, Sarah charged down the track but was beaten by a wrong 'un from Harmanpreet and Sushma Verma took off the bails in a flash. Natalie Sciver came to the crease to face the hat-trick delivery, and just about managed to survive, as another googly from Harmanpreet cut her in half and missed her leg stump by a whisker.

Sciver and Knight steadied the England innings for a while, before Ekta Bisht repeated Harmanpreet's feat and took two wickets in two deliveries, in the 12th over. The left arm spinner beat Knight in the flight and Sushma was once again at hand to take the bails off in the blink of an eye.

England were tottering at 62/5 and suddenly the target of 91 was looking a bit daunting. Things got worse for them when Sciver fell to Bisht in the 14th over. She danced down the track to drive the ball through the covers, but failed to reach to the pitch of the ball. In the end, Sciver only managed to hit a simple catch to Mithali Raj.

The Indian spinners were extracting a lot of turn from the surface and the England batting lineup were crumbling like a house of cards. The visitors invited more pressure on themselves as they inflicted two run-outs and all of a sudden India were just two wickets away from an unlikely win. However, India did not have enough runs on the board to defend, and eventually, England hobbled home with six balls to spare.

Earlier, England came into this match on the back of a convincing win over Bangladesh at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday. On the other hand, the Indian eves had suffered an unfortunate loss against Pakistan in a rain affected match on Saturday.

At the toss, English captain Charlotte Edwards announced the return of Rebecca Grundy into the lineup, while for India, Ekta Bisht replaced Poonam Yadav.

India were put into bat after Edwards won the toss, and the home team were off to a poor start. Vellaswamy Vanitha was dismissed in the third ball of the opening over, after she picked out Lydia Greenway in her attempt to hit a slog sweep off Heather Knight.

Vanitha's opening partner was also removed in the fifth over, when she played on an inswinging delivery from Anya Shrubsole, onto her stumps, and India had just 15 runs on the board at that point. Captain Mithali Raj and Shikha Pandey attempted to stabilize the innings, but just when their partnership was looking to blossom, Knight picked up her second wicket to sent Pandey back into the pavilion.

The home side kept losing wickets at regular intervals as Knight and Anya produced two stunning spells. Harmanpreet Kaur was the only middle-order batswoman who provided any resistance, as she held the innings together with her 26-run knock, despite losing partners at the other end. Harmanpreet and Anuja Patil guided the team to a score of 90 in the end, arguably 30 runs short of a winning total.

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