Gunn, Brunt seal thrilling England win
England women 183 for 8 (Gunn 64, Rainford-Brent 27, Sultana 4-30) beat India women 180 (Raj* 91, Sharma 40, Brunt 5-22, Gunn 2-38) by three runs
Mithali Raj's determined 91 was in vain as England held their nerve to clinch a thrilling three-run win over India in Bangalore level the five-match series 1-1. Jenny Gunn and Katherine Brunt were the stars for England in a game that went down to the last over. Gunn's 64, which included eight boundaries, took England to 183, a total that just about proved adequate. That was made possible by Brunt's five-wicket haul, her career-best figures, and, crucially, Gunn's own resolve at the death, as she bagged two wickets and effected a run-out to deprive India after a spirited fightback led by Raj.
Brunt made early inroads into India's reply to leave them reeling at 16 for 4 at one stage. Thirush Kamini, who had been injured while fielding, came to bat with a runner but she was forced to retire hurt after she fell trying to duck a short ball by Brunt. However a win that looked improbable at one stage was made to look likely after Raj and Amita Sharma, who chipped in with 40, added 106 for the fifth wicket. Raj's batting seemed unaffected by the early collapse and she timed and placed her shots beautifully. Isa Guha broke that stand, though Raj received support from captain Jhulan Goswami who took India within 10 runs of England's score.
At 173 for 6, with 11 needed in 19 balls, India looked good to take a 2-0 lead but were thwarted by Gunn, who orchestrated a twist by dismissing Goswami, stumped off a wide.
England had looked lethargic during Raj and Goswami's stand, even fumbling in their fielding, but once Goswami was dismissed they seemed to smell a chance and came back harder.
Nooshin Al Khadeer consumed five balls for one run before Gunn struck again to leave India needing nine in two overs with two wickets to come. Brunt returned to bowl Preeti Dimri first ball as Raj was helplessly left to see the game slipping away from India's grasp. Three wickets had fallen for two runs.
India needed five off the last over. Raj took a single off the first. Gouher Sultana defended the second and then hit the third to cover and tried to scramble a single but was run out by Caroline Atkins. There was a brief moment while England waited to see if Kamini would return and broke into excited shrieks when the Indians indicated she wouldn't. Raj was unbeaten on 91 off 138 balls.
While India were hit by Kamini's injury, England had lost fast bowler Nicky Shaw (feeling under the weather) and keeper Sarah Taylor (injury) shortly before the start of the game. Isa Guha came in place of Shaw and 18-year-old Tammy Beaumont made her debut in, replacing Taylor behind the stumps.
Atkins came up the order to open alongside the in-form Ebony Rainford-Brent. However Goswami and Rumeli Dhar bowled full and straight and strangled the batsmen. Atkins was bowled in the 15th over trying to sweep Dimri. It took England 19.3 overs to get 50. Sultana was brought in to the attack in the 23rd over and she struck in her third over as Rainford-Brent (27) was bowled trying to make room to cut.
After that Gunn took charge of the England innings. She tried to scoop to scoop the spinners behind the wicket and lofted Sultana and Dhar to midwicket boundary. At the end of 40 overs, England were 119 for 3. Gunn and Edwards started clearing the boundary more often after that and when Gunn fell in the 43rd over for a 92-ball 64, the two had added 46 at nearly five an over.
Sultana hit back late in the innings with the wickets of Edwards and Laura Marsh but tailenders Brunt and Guha picked up 25 runs from the last two overs.