Mumbai: Charlotte Edwards and Harmanpreet Kaur both scored centuries for their teams, but it was the former who emerged victorious as England beat India by 32 runs at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.
England's win will be seen as a recovery from their shock defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka on Friday and throws Group A wide open after West Indies beat Sri Lanka by 209-runs.
India's top order, which was credited for their fine win against West Indies in the tournament's opener, toppled against the English pace attack of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole to leave them reeling at 29-3 after just 7.3 overs. Chasing a target of 273 runs, it was a dire situation to be in.
Brunt was the pick of the bowlers, ending the match with figures of 4/29. She also contributed a quick-fire 21 runs towards England's cause.
It was easy in the end for England, but the hosts didn't go down without a fight. Kaur, who ended the match on 107 runs (109 balls, 8x4, 2x6), and Karuna Jain, who scored 56 (92 balls, 5x4) runs put up a fighting 106-run stand.
Just when it looked like the two middle-order batters would take the game to the wire however, Arran Brindle dismissed Jain, whose leading edge was taken by Laura Marsh at point. Jhulan Goswami was up next and the pinch-hitter managed to score 19 (20 balls, 3x4) before an acrobatic catch from Heather Knight ended her innings. Jhulan was getting into the groove and tried to clear mid-off, but the ball stuck to Knight's outstretched arms before she was engulfed by her teammates.
Kaur continued to lead the charge against England, scoring a couple of sixes down the ground to keep the home teams hopes alive, but the 23-year-old's efforts were not enough to take India past the finishing line. Four wickets fell in the last five overs as India could manage only 240-9.
Earlier, England put up a fantastic batting display with captain Charlotte Edwards leading from the front with a 109-run knock from 123 balls. The visitors actually made a bad start, losing Danielle Wyatt after just 4.3 overs to Jhulan Goswami, but recovered thanks to some gutsy partnerships on the road to a healthy total of 272-8.
Sarah Taylor and Edwards stabilised the English innings with a 100-run partnership. Taylor, who many consider as the star of the England batting line-up provided able support to her skipper, who took on the more attacking role. The partnership was finally broken after a brilliant direct-hit from Amita Sharma resulted in a run-out.
England, however, forged another quick partnership with Lydia Greenway and Edwards both attacking the bowlers and upping the run-rate. With the Indian bowlers tiring, the batters had no trouble in dispatching the loose deliveries to the ropes. Greenway scored five fours in her innings worth 29 runs before Jhulan got the breakthrough.
But there was no stopping the run-flow. Katherine Brunt chipped in with a quickfire 21 before Arran Brindle's vital innings of 37 not out.
Edwards, who was constantly losing partners on the other end, went for a quick run which resulted in another run-out and she walked off the pitch to a standing ovation from the Indian spectators.
The hard-hitting Brindle stuck around till the end of the innings and ensured that they had enough runs to put the hosts under pressure. The plan was executed to perfection, and it should be interesting to see whether they can continue their momentum against West Indies on 5 February.
India play Sri Lanka on the same day in a day/night encounter.