India v England, Women's World T20 2016, Group B, Dharamsala March 22, 2016

England Women survive spin scare to chase 91

England Women 92 for 8 (Beaumont 20, Bisht 4-21, Kaur 2-22 ) beat India Women 90 for 8 (Kaur 26, Knight 3-15, Shrubsole 2-12) by two wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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'A lot of belief in our dressing room' - Knight

India Women nearly got out of jail courtesy their trump card, spin, in conditions as subcontinental as it could get to lift the hopes of a boisterous home crowd, but a turbo-charged start from Sarah Taylor and Tammy Beaumont helped England Women overcome a nervous breakdown. They eventually crossed the line by two wickets in a pulsating finish in Dharamsala.

India's 90 for 8, which seemed inadequate at the halfway mark, was made to look bigger as England's pre-determined approach on a surface, where the ball spun visiously, came back to bite them. It needed the calm of Natalie Sciver, who made a crucial 19, and Jenny Gunn to allay fears of a shock loss as England squeezed home with six balls to spare.

Ekta Bisht, who replaced Poonam Yadav in the XI, injected fresh life in to India's defence with a crafty display of left-arm spin bowling to finish with career-best figures of 4 for 21. But, lack of application with the bat threw India's campaign in choppy waters. They need to win against West Indies on Sunday and hope other results go their way.

After misfiring with the bat, India came out attacking, and received an early fillip when Charlotte Edwards was dismissed by the third over. But Taylor, perhaps identifying the surface to be a raging turner, announced herself with three fours off her first seven balls to briefly throw India's plans off.

Beaumont also showed she was up for the fight by making a sprightly 20. Harmanpreet Kaur, who was smashed for three fours off her first three balls, hit back with two wickets off successive balls. Beaumont holed out to midwicket before Taylor was stumped superbly by Sushma Verma.

From 42 for 3, England's nervy approach was reduced to a battle of push and prod as Bisht exploited the slow, spinning surface to scythe through the middle order. Heather Knight, who had earlier picked up three wickets with her offspin, was stumped, too, while Lydia Greenway was trapped plumb in front attempting an expansive sweep to leave the game on a knife's edge.

India's fielders also lifted themselves, even though England found scoring slightly easier against the pace of Jhulan Goswami. England also had a reprieve when Katherin Brunt survived a close lbw shout, with England needing 11 off 23. Then as things got tighter, the nerves began to show as Kaur put down a regulation catch at cover with England needing three. The next ball was hit behind point for four by Anya Shrubsole to trigger wild celebrations in the England camp.

Earlier, there was little doubt that the toss would be crucial, and Edwards opted to bowl. The decision paid off almost immediately as Vellaswamy Vanitha fell in the first over to leave two of India's best batsmen - Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana - to weather the early storm.

Mandhana started off with a crunching off drive, but the slowness of the wicket became evident early on as she repeatedly found leading edges off cutters. England were surprisingly off the boil on the field, but the hole India dug themselves in to allowed England to regroup.

Shikha Pandey, and not Kaur, walked out at No. 4 in a bid to up the ante. But Pandey struggled, which put more pressure on Raj. A touch player, who relies on timing instead of muscle, she then looked to go over the top, only to see the ball lob to point. The batting meltdown somewhat seemed complete when Veda Krishnamurthy was bowled through the gate by Knight's loopy offspin to leave India on the ropes at 52 for 5 in 14 overs. That they finished with 90 was courtesy Kaur's improvisation and Anuja Patil's deft touches.

A second successive sub-100 score put immense pressure on India's spinners to pull off a heist. Hard as they tried, all England needed was an injection of momentum at the top. Once they got that, it was a question of weathering the blips, which they overcame, but not without jangling nerves.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rajesh on March 23, 2016, 1:57 GMT

    IND hasn't been starting off as quickly as they would like to when the ball is hard

  • Danish on March 22, 2016, 18:17 GMT

    Very disappointed stuff from EngWm. It was a toothless performance. Only Sarah Taylor batted well, in the beginning. There were so many loose deliveries served to them, and they couldn't do anything about them.

    It was good captaincy by the Indian captain to put in an extra (may not so regular) spinner in the 19th over.

  • arunac2891625 on March 22, 2016, 16:43 GMT

    India out early as expected ??

  • Paul on March 22, 2016, 15:56 GMT

    Having watched the sheer ineptitude of England's clueless batting it makes one wonder if all the vast amount of money injected into women's cricket by ECB is really worthwhile. Central contracts, expensive coaching set up,all those Kia Sorrento cars have made no difference. Maybe the man in Indian Wells has a point!!

  • Nish on March 22, 2016, 15:47 GMT

    As we have seen in the WC so far in both the men & women's matches, you have to adapt in playing on different types of wickets. There will be some low-scoring matches too like this one but doesn't mean they are much less exciting than ones where lots of fours or sixes are smacked around!

  •   Raph Walker on March 22, 2016, 14:22 GMT

    Wow I'm prouder of this England team then I am the Mens side.

  • James on March 22, 2016, 13:55 GMT

    Another game, another slow, rank turner of a pitch. The pitches at Nagpur and here at Dharmsala are not really conducive to free play and mean that the faster bowlers cannot really get into the game. Spinners rule and it's just about who has the bottle and ability to hit over the top or else work it round. This was nearly heartbreaking stuff from England with the bat, we've seen them collapse to spin before, but they scraped home. I don't really regard it as lucky though as we've been on the end of responses from Bangladesh and now India. Suddenly, from nowhere a few weeks ago, Beaumont looks like an important player for England. Just one more win to go from 2 games and hopefully the dodgy NRR won't matter.

  • Paulo on March 22, 2016, 13:41 GMT

    A really gripping end to a game that has hopefully dispelled two myths about the game that have been irritating me for some time: 1. T20 needs a lot of 4s and 6s to be exciting and 2. The Women's game is not interesting.

    That was an exciting end. I found it even more interesting than Joe Root and co chasing 231 on Friday, characterised by some fantastic fielding and bowling but rather disappointing batting.

    India have improved a lot as a side in my opinion. Fielding is often used as a measure of professionalism of cricket teams, and this India side has improved a lot. In fact this game showed the value of fielding and bowling to the T20 game.

    Yes you could question the batting, particularly running between the wickets, which was at times hopeless. And England will be concerned how they nearly bottled it.

    A thoroughly enjoyable ending to this game. We don't always need 200 vs 200.

  • Fawad on March 22, 2016, 13:26 GMT

    Yay! Hopefully men will learn too, apart from Root no one seems comfortable against spin at the moment.

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