India 146 for 2 (Mhandana 79) beat England 142 for 7 (Kemp 51, Rana 3-24) by eight wickets
Smriti Mandhana’s magnificent unbeaten half-century helped India defeat England by eight wickets with 20 balls remaining in their second of three T20Is, leveling the series at one apiece.
If this evening is any indication, just one end of the country has yet to experience the rainy and gloomy start to autumn. Durham had provided a rainy start to the series on Saturday as England cruised to a nine-wicket victory in unfavorable conditions for India. Then, for a significant portion of Tuesday, London was submerged in constant rain. While England’s innings at Derby’s Incora County Ground continued in the twilight heat, the midlands were still trying to hold on to summer.
From the hosts’ standpoint, that was perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of it as they lurched from 16 for 3 to 54 for 5… Up until left-hander Freya Kemp, 17, who is actually a left-arm seamer, hit an innings-saving, undefeated half-century of her own. However, in the end, it was the much more seasoned Mandhana who brilliantly offset Kemp’s effort with a score of 79 runs unbeaten to set up a series finale in Bristol on Thursday.
A below-par target was set because of England’s early collapse and India’s significantly improved fielding, and Mandhana was crucial in bringing it in. He faced 53 balls and connected with the boundary 13 times.
She shared an opening partnership of 55 runs with Shafali Verma, who was dismissed for 20 by Sophie Ecclestone after taking a sharp return catch, and an unbroken partnership of 69 runs with Harmanpreet Kaur, who would have been out on 19 had Danni Wyatt not blown a simple opportunity at deep midwicket.
The only other Indian batter to fall, Dayalan Hemalatha, was struck on her off stump by a Freya Davies ball that beat the outside edge. Mandhana then added the winning runs with back-to-back fours off Davies that she smashed through midwicket and over the bowler’s head towards long-off.
England falters, but India perseveres
In the third ball of the match, from Renuka Singh, Sophia Dunkley clipped it for four through midwicket, and Wyatt stroked the fifth between backward point and short third, giving England a promising start. However, in the following over, Wyatt edged Renuka to Sneh Rana at first slip after Dunkley charged at Deepti Sharma’s first ball and was stumped by Richa Ghosh.
It was 16 for 3 thanks to strong fielding, an area in which India struggled in the first game, and an error by Alice Capsey. After hitting Renuka through the covers, Capsey began to make a third run while Radha Yadav, who had just stopped the ball short of the rope and fired it effortlessly into Harmanpreet inside the ring, was sprinting around to her right in the deep. Capsey stood her ground halfway down the field, flat-footed, just as Bryony Smith did at the non-end, striker’s while she watched as Harmanpreet threw to the keeper, who fumbled but shattered the stumps with Capsey still far away.
Kemp came in at No. 7 and proceeded to save the England innings with her 37-ball knock in her ninth T20I while only batting twice. By lofting Radha down the ground twice to bookend her heave over deep midwicket off Renuka, she blasted three sixes. She was unbeaten at 51 and reached her first international fifty with a straight-driven four off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Less than two months ago, Kemp made her international debut at this venue against South Africa as England reorganized their T20 team in preparation for the Commonwealth Games. She was primarily selected for her bowling as England looked beyond seasoned seamers Katherine Brunt, who was rested for India’s tour, and Anya Shrubsole, who has retired from international cricket. At the age of 17 years and 145 days, she became the youngest Englishwoman to achieve fifty in T20Is. In addition, Sarah Taylor, who struck 61 in an ODI against India in 2006 at the age of 17 years and 96 days, is the second-youngest player for England Women in international cricket.