India Women stunned the Lionesses with a historic win in their own backyard in the recently concluded ODI series. The Women in Blue recorded their first-ever series sweep against England Women on English soil as Jhulan Goswami bowed out from cricket in style. Plenty of takeaways from the ODI series as India Women head into the Women’s Asia Cup.
Let’s take a look at some key events that took place in India Women’s Tour of England.
Jhulan Goswami bows out after 20 years
After two decades of national service, veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami hung up her boots. Regarded as one of the fastest bowlers in women’s cricket, Goswami played her final ODI in the third match of the series. As a gesture of goodwill, skipper Harmanpreet asked the 39-year-old to accompany her for the toss. Both the captain and the veteran stood side-by-side with England captain Amy Jones as the coin was flipped in the air.
Goswami picked up a brace of wickets in her final ODI match, dismissing Alice Capsey and Kate Cross. With this, she ended her career amassing 255 wickets in Women’s ODI
India Women manage their highest ever score on English soil
In a match where skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was unbeaten, India Women finished their innings by scoring the highest-ever total of 333/5 on English soil. Harmanpreet played a captain’s knock with her 143* off 111 deliveries, which helped the Women in Blue reach the mammoth total. This was also Harmanpreet’s highest ever score against England Women in ODI cricket. Interestingly, the current Indian captain surpassed her predecessor Mithali Raj as the highest scoring Indian captain in women’s ODI cricket, who had smashed 125* against Sri Lanka in 2018.
Smriti Mandhana and Harleen Deol were impressive with the bat with their contribution of 40 and 58 respectively. A last-ditch effort by Pooja Vastrakar’s 18 and Deepti Sharma’s 15* helped India Women stretch their record-breaking total to further dampen England Women’s hopes. India’s previous best was in June 2017 when the scoreboard read 281/3.
The Mankad incident
While Mankad is well within the cricket laws, it is frowned upon when it occurs in an intense situation. India Women were on the verge of registering their first-ever clean sweep against England in a series. Having fared poorly in the first innings with a total of just 169, it was a herculean task for the Women in Blue to defend the target against the mighty Lionesses.
Having had the upper hand in the opening overs of the second innings, India Women found themselves in a pickle after Charlie Dean’s arrival. Dean was on song as she scored 47 off 80 balls, playing as defensively as she could to win England’s first of the already-lost series. However, Deepti Sharma, India’s saviour in the first innings, took the matter into her own hands after spotting the 21-year-old backing up early numerous times at the non-striker’s end. Sharma, on course to bowl the 44th over, opted to ‘Mankad’ Dean in the middle of her stride as the English batter backed up early from her end. The third umpire gave the decision ‘Out’ on the big screen as Dean, who was at 47, walked back in tears.
Many criticised the use of this tactic by Deepti Sharma, stating that such an end to an enthralling run chase was not befitting. While the English fans made their point, the Indian fans made counter statements to defend their star player.
India Women’s star performers from the series
In the batting front, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana are in imperious form as they continue to deliver with the willow. The Indian captain finished the ODI series with the most runs with 221, including the only century in the series. She is the only batter to cross 200 runs in the series. Mandhana follows her captain with the second most runs. These two will be key in the upcoming Women’s Asia Cup.
In the bowling department, Renuka Singh finished the series as the leading wicket-taker from both sides, with eight scalps. All-rounder Deepti Sharma took four wickets in the series to finish third on the leaderboard. Jhulan Goswami bowed out from women’s cricket with three wickets to her name in her last ODI series. An emotional Harmanpreet couldn’t contain her emotions as India Women hurdled up for the last time with Goswami.
Heading into the Women’s Asia Cup
India Women now have to battle with the rest of the nations for the Women’s Asia Cup. The Women in Blue have everything to play for as they aim to snatch back the title from defending champions Bangladesh. The likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma and Renuka Singh need to be in their top form as India look up to them for Asia Cup glory.
Following the disappointing performance by India in the Men’s edition of the Asia Cup, it is time for the Women’s division to showcase their finesse in the game..
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