Mumbai: India finally had to something to cheer about as they defeated England by eight wickets to record a consolation win in the Women's T20 Tri-series at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium on Thursday.
After bundling out England for a paltry 107, the Indian batswomen overhauled the target with 4.2 overs to spare. Opener Smriti Mandhana continued with her rich vein of form, scoring an unbeaten quickfire 62 off 41 balls.
The Indian spinners delivered, sharing nine wickets after the opposition decided to bat first. Offie Anuja Patil picked up three wickets, while Radha Yadav, Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav took two wickets each.
The game was a dead rubber as India have already been knocked out of the tournament after losing their first three games, two to Australia and one to England.
The chase began on a quick note with Mandhana striking three boundaries off Katie George in the second over and followed up with two fours in the fourth over.
Mithali Raj (6) and Jemimah Rodrigues (7) fell early. But Mandhana, who got a life on 13, made the most of it and punished the England bowlers. Mandhana, who scored her third fifty of the tournament, hit eight boundaries and a six.
She and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (20 not out) then ensured that there was no further damage and conjured an unbeaten 60-run third wicket stand to take the side home.
Earlier, the Indian spinners finally found the much-needed rhythm as they skittled out England for a meagre total.
Patil (3/21) was the pick of the bowlers and was superbly aided by left-arm spinner Radha Yadav (2/16), leggie Poonam Yadav (2/17), offie Dipti Sharma (2/24) and pacer Pooja Vastrakar (1/17).
The Indian spinners did not allow the English batswomen to settle down and picked up wickets at regular intervals on a placid track. And the Indian fielding too aided the spinners with some stunning catches.
England had a poor start with openers Danielle Wyatt (31 off 22 balls) and Amy Jones (15) only putting up a 24-run stand for the first wicket.
In the fourth over, Vastrakar removed Jones, who was caught at wide mid-on by Raj. Wyatt then upped the ante after hitting Patil for two fours in the fifth over. She then smashed Radha for a four and a six, as England raced to 54/1 after the powerplay.
But then from the next over, England's collapse started. Deepti dismissed Wyatt by taking a simple return catch with England at 59/2. England lost their third wicket quickly as Poonam removed Tamsin Beaumont (10) after she gave a sitter to Jhulan Goswami.
Natalie Sciver (15) and skipper Heather Knight tried to steer the team out of trouble with their 23-run fourth-wicket stand. But then Patil dismissed Sciver, who mistimed a reverse sweep, and was caught by wicketkeeper Tania Bhatia.
Knight (11), Fran Wilson (12), Alice David Richardson (3), Katie George (0), Danielle Hazell (3) and Natasha Farrant (2) fell cheaply as the Indian spinners overpowered them. The visitors lost the last five wickets for just 16 runs.
The highlight of the innings was the stunning diving catch taken at long-off by Kaur to send back Hazell.
The final between England and Australia will be played on Saturday.
Brief scores: England Women: 107 allout in 18.5 overs; Danielle Wyatt 31, Natalie Sciver 15; Anuja Patil 3/21) lost to India Women: 108/2 in 15.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 62 not out, Harampreet Kaur 20 not out; Danielle Hazell 2/17) by eight wickets.
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