England Women 272 for 8 (Edwards 109) beat India Women 240 for 9 (Kaur 107*, Jain 56, Brunt 4-29) by 32 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
After their shock last-ball defeat to Sri Lanka two days ago, England were back to what they do best, beating opponents with superior skill, athleticism and power. Leading the comeback, or restoring normalcy, was the captain Charlotte Edwards, with her seventh century that also made her the highest-run getter in the history of women's ODIs. After a scratchy start, Edwards grew in confidence to hit boundary after boundary as India's attack failed to contain her onslaught.
In the chase, as expected, Katherine Brunt came hard at India, who were soon reduced to 29 for 3, the same position that England had been against Sri Lanka. England had batted first that day, and could afford to take their time to scrap and rebuild to 238. But Mithali Raj had chosen to field, and watched Edwards and No. 3 Sarah Taylor reel off a brisk century partnership for the second wicket. Faced with an asking rate that soon went above a run a ball, India never looked like coming close to getting 273, despite vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur's defiant refusal to give up with a counter-attacking, maiden, unbeaten ODI hundred.
Raj had hoped for early wickets with the new ball when she sent England in early in the morning, but Edwards barely gave India a sniff after a quiet start, her first 20 deliveries producing the lone single. She got beaten outside off stump, inside-edged to leg and pushed the ball uncertainly to the field. India took out the other opener Danielle Wyatt, who could not push on after being dropped off Jhulan Goswami at slip by Thirush Kamini, and turned the bowler straight to midwicket in the fifth over.
In walked the highly-rated Taylor, returning after missing the Sri Lanka game with an injury. Her front-foot driving has been much talked about, and she soon showed why, effortlessly leaning into length deliveries and dispatching them through extra cover. Edwards started to find some rhythm with a couple of crisp cuts. India started to look flat, their bowlers failing to test the batsmen, and their fielders failing to cut off boundaries. It took a direct hit from Amita Sharma to send Taylor, who had slowed down against spin, back in the 28th over.
There was no let-up in the supply line of support for Edwards, who had now started stroking fours in clusters. If anything, England only shifted a few gears up. Lydia Greenway swept and slog-swept to 29 off 27, Brunt was promoted to lash 21 off 16, and Arran Brindle lofted her way over the infield to an unbeaten 37 off 32. Edwards reached her century, meanwhile, with a late steer to the fine third man rope off her 113th delivery. It was a tired rush for a single in the 44th over which found Edwards short of her crease for 109 off 123.
The noisy Brabourne crowd, confined to the upper tier of the North Stand, grew to around 2000-strong as India built their chase after the early losses. Raj had said England were heavily reliant on Brunt, and Brunt did not let England down. First ball of the fifth over, Thirush Kamini, centurion against West Indies, was trapped in front. Raj herself went after Brunt, an upper cut off a short delivery finding third man in the seventh over. The other opener Poonam Raut missed an attempted tuck to leg off Anya Shrubsole and was given lbw.
Kaur and wicketkeeper Karu Jain set about repairing the innings with a steady century stand. While Jain wasn't short of effort, she struggled to beat the infield at times in making 56 off 92. Kaur flowed into an extra-cover drive second ball, and never looked back, displaying admirable calm under pressure for someone only 23. Her straight hitting was a treat to watch, as she generated power and timing through well-judged use of her feet to chip down the pitch. She also placed the cut superbly and even played her own version of the slog-sweep, as she had against West Indies, a swift, sharp downward movement of the bat sending the ball almost over the deep backward square leg rope.
England chipped away at the other end. A flagging Jain mishit a heave to backward point off Brindle in the 34th over with 138 still needed. Raj promoted Goswami, who slogged a few boundaries before falling to an outstanding, leaping take by Heather Knight at mid-off. Knight had batted at No. 8 and been run out for 2. She didn't bowl in the game, but her catch, among the many tough chances that England otherwise put down, probably ended whatever little aggression Kaur could hope for from the other end.
From 172 for 5, Kaur was chiefly responsible for stretching the innings to 240, a drive to long-on in the 46th over raising her maiden ODI century, off 102 deliveries. Brunt wasn't done yet, and in the next over, struck off successive balls as England closed the door firmly on India, with Kaur returning unconquered.
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo