Nat Sciver-Brunt leads England past India despite Renuka Singh five-for
Renuka's career-best haul and good knocks from Smriti Mandhana and Richa Ghosh fail to prevent England from closing in on semi-final spot
England 151 for 7 (Nat Sciver-Brunt 50, Jones 40, Renuka 5-15) beat India 140 for 5 (Mandhana 52, Ghosh 47*, Glenn 2-27) by 11 runs
England put one foot in the women's T20 World Cup semi-finals with a last-over win that was set up by crucial knocks from Nat Sciver-Brunt and Amy Jones, which meant Renuka Singh's career-best 5 for 15 went in a losing cause. Despite being 29 for 3 early on, England kept their foot on the pedal to post a challenging 151 in overcast conditions, which they defended with the help of a spin strangle in the middle overs. The result stretched their unbeaten record against India in T20 World Cups to 6-0.
Smriti Mandhana took India deep with her 52, but the asking rate had nearly touched 12 when she got out in the 16th over. From 47 needed off 24, it was 34 off 12, and then 31 off the last over, bowled by Katherine Sciver-Brunt. A no-ball, which Richa Ghosh hit for four, gave India hope, but the task was too steep and India fell short.
Renuka Singh rules the powerplay
Renuka found prodigious inswing, and was at her accurate best, and pegged England back when she struck in each of her first three overs. Her third ball swung in a long way and took Danni Wyatt's outside edge for a spectacular one-handed catch for Ghosh, sending Wyatt back for a duck. Alice Capsey then missed with a big swing to be bowled for 3, and Sophia Dunkley made room for a big shot but lost her leg stump for 10. Renuka bowled three overs in a row and had ten dots in her first spell of 3-0-12-3.
Another rescue act from Nat Sciver-Brunt
She did it a couple of times in the ODI World Cup last year and she did it again on Saturday even if the format was different. Walking in at 10 for 2 in the second over, Nat first rescued and then lifted England with Heather Knight and Jones for company, by hardly letting the scoring rate drop. Knight and Nat kept going with their reverse sweeps and scoops, with short third and fine leg were in the circle. Knight punished Rajeshwari Gayakwad for consecutive fours in the ninth, before Nat gave Shafali Verma the same treatment in the next over to take them to 72 at the halfway mark.
But soon after their stand reached 50, Knight struck a Shikha Pandey full toss straight to cover for 28. Nat was closing in on her fifty during three boundary-less overs, before Jones took on the bowlers with three fours and a six in the space of seven balls. She heaved Pooja Vastrakar for six soon after scooping her for four, and struck Radha Yadav for consecutive fours at the end of the 16th over to power England to 117 with four overs left. Nat's dismissal for 50 didn't pull them down either; Jones and Sophie Ecclestone smacked Deepti Sharma for sixes in a 17-run over before Renuka struck twice more in her last over to claim her first five-for although England just got past 150.
Smriti Mandhana fights, but without support
Even though it continued to be overcast during the chase, England's spinners - and not quicks - stifled India. Runs flowed easily early on when Katherine and Lauren Bell were wayward - there were three wides in the first seven balls - and India's real charge came when Mandhana tore into Katherine for four fours in five balls with a cut, a straight loft and pulls either side of deep square-leg.
Shafali, however, top-edged a Bell short ball to mid-on for 8. The scoring rate dropped after Mandhana had lofted Charlie Dean over mid-on for her fifth four, when Knight brought on spin from both ends with the powerplay over. Even though Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues were itching to get the boundaries, they couldn't find the gaps or middle the attempted big shots. With just 28 runs coming off five overs leading into the tenth over, Rodrigues found long-on while looking for a release shot and, seven balls later, Harmanpreet Kaur went for a wild swing against Ecclestone for a leading edge to cover where Capsey held on to a juggling catch.
Too much for Richa Ghosh to do
Ghosh's arrival ended the boundary drought of 44 balls as she hit back-to-back fours on the leg side off Nat, followed by Mandhana sending Dean for glorious boundaries over the covers.
With 68 needed from 42, Sarah Glenn and Ecclestone bowled with flat trajectories and tight lines respectively to concede just nine runs in two overs, which put the pressure on India again. Mandhana then unleashed an inside-out six but followed it by holing out to long-on, leaving a big task for the lower order.
Ghosh was on a run-a-ball 22 and India needed 47 off 24. Nat sent down a four-run over and Ghosh ate up three dots from Bell, which left India with 34 to get from 12 and 31 from six, which was always going to be tough.
Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo