Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
SL v AUS (1)
SA-W in ENG (1)
NAM T20 (1)
SIN v MAL (1)
County DIV1 (4)
County DIV2 (3)
India Women 317 for 8 (Mandhana 123, Harmanpreet 109, Bhatia 31, Anisa 2-59) beat West Indies Women 162 (Dottin 62, Matthews 43, Rana 3-22, Meghna 2-17) by 155 runs
India weathered a blistering opening stand between Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews to script a vital 155-run win over West Indies that propelled them to the top of the World Cup table. In the early stages of India's defence of 317, their highest World Cup total, the result seemed far from obvious, and the centuries from Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur somewhat inadequate. Sneh Rana and Meghna Singh, however, decisively turned the tide India's way at Seddon Park as Dottin's wicket triggered West Indies' slump from 100 for no loss to 162 all out.
West Indies gave them a good chance of extending their winning streak after galloping to 50 in five overs, 81 in the wicketless powerplay, and 100 in just 12. The dominant hand in their blazing start, and West Indies' maiden century stand, was Dottin's, despite her back and legs requiring regular repairwork during her 62-run knock. Dottin carted 11 boundaries in her breathtaking 46-ball innings.
India sought respite from the Dottin-Matthews onslaught but received little despite using two quicks and spinners each in the powerplay. It was third-change Rana's frugal, game-changing opening spell that led to West Indies' collapse.
Dottin top-edged an attempted sweep to Rana's second ball to Meghna at short fine-leg, and it was Meghna who then took over and dealt West Indies the second blow, Kycia Knight's pull going to Mandhana at deep square-leg. Meghna followed it up with Stafanie Taylor's wicket before Rana removed Matthews for 48. In both dismissals, wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh pouched the edges with ease.
Earlier, India's batters, led by Mandhana and Harmanpreet, pulled no punches in a game they needed to win to stay safe in the race to the knockouts following the loss to New Zealand at the same venue. They put on their highest total in ODI World Cups - and the overall highest in this edition - after choosing to bat first.
Mandhana hit 123 in 119, and Harmanpreet 109 in 107, and they put on 184 for the fourth wicket, India's best in ODI World Cups, to lift them from 78 for 3.
On a used surface, India almost instantly shook off the hesitancy that stifled them in the powerplay against Pakistan and New Zealand, Yastika Bhatia's fearless stroke play underpinning their approach early on. Bhatia got off the mark with a four off a mistimed cut that flew over the slips, and next over, she cracked three fours off pulls as Chinelle Henry gave away 15 runs to begin her day.
India's rapid start led West Indies to introduce spin in the sixth over. But it was the change at the other end, in the form of medium-pacer Shakera Selman, that brought the breakthrough when, on 31, Bhatia lobbed a dolly back to Selman off a slower delivery. Another soft dismissal followed, this time Mithali Raj, who became the captain with most appearances on the day, falling to Matthews.
Mandhana, meanwhile, steadied the ship at one end, though the two early wickets made her cautious. India got to 62 for 2 in the powerplay, the best in that phase before West Indies bettered it in the chase, and No. 4 Deepti Sharma's back-to-back fours off Selman promised a lot. That, however, was not to be. Coming on in the 13th over, Anisa Mohammed drew an edge off Deepti's slog-sweep, which Matthews intercepted with a stunning one-handed grab behind the keeper.
With India 100 for 3, 20 overs in, it was down to Mandhana and Harmanpreet to lift them to the 250-run mark, which they hadn't reached in this World Cup before this game. On 34 off 51 balls, Mandhana struck her first four - a languid flick through the midwicket area - and upped the tempo thereafter. She got to her second fifty in the tournament with another flick, on the 60th ball of her innings, and her next 50 runs came off just 43 balls.
With 200 up in the 36th over, Mandhana cracked a 78-metre six off Aaliyah Alleyne as fielding errors came thick and fast. After reaching the 90s with a four, Mandhana got a big slice of luck when, on 94, Alleyne dropped her at deep midwicket. Shamilia Connell tested her with a short ball and even pinged her pad, but Mandhana survived, and a four, courtesy a short-arm pull off Matthews, took her to her second ODI World Cup century, and second against West Indies. Three of her 13 fours on the day came off back-to-back deliveries as Matthews found herself at the receiving end in the 42nd over. India had crossed 250 by then and as Harmanpreet looked to up the ante at her end, Mandhana pulled one straight to deep midwicket to be dismissed.
Harmanpreet, too, paced her innings well. A drop by Anisa at short third handed her a reprieve when on 20. She remained boundary-less in her first 20 balls but struck 12, two of them sixes, off her next 87. It was her strike rotation, though, that accounted for the bulk - 57 - of her 109 runs. Harmanpreet, unsurprisingly, relied heavily on the sweep but it was a full-blooded lofted shot that brought up her second straight fifty.
She batted close to three hours and faced issues with her wrist as she neared the three-digit milestone. But neither pain nor West Indies could keep her from bringing up her first century in the format since her epochal 171 not out in the semi-final of the 2017 World Cup. A single down the bowler's right steered her to the mark, and a 15-run over from Anisa soon after lifted India past 300.
India's 317 for 8 eventually proved too much for West Indies as they were rolled over inside 41 overs. On a day of record-breaking feats, Jhulan Goswami added the finishing touch with the wicket of Anisa, and she rose to the top of the wicket-takers' tally in women's ODI World Cups. Fittingly, it was Rana who closed out the game, catching Connell off her own bowling.
Customize Your Page
WWC 2022: South Africa's nerves of 'steal'
India and England blow hot and cold. Debutants Bangladesh leave a mark
Fierce focus, 'lot of fun', and a shared trophy - Mandhana and Harmanpreet's day out
The centurions both lifted the Player-of-the-Match award after they kept each other company in the middle for over two hours
Mandhana and Harmanpreet set new benchmarks, West Indies' dramatic collapse and more
India continued to dominate West Indies in Women's World Cups, as the 155-run win highlighted