By Nikhil Bapat
Mumbai, (PTI) England women on Thursday scripted a sensational recovery from a difficult position to register a consolation two-wicket win in the third and final ODI to prevent hosts India from completing a whitewash in the three-match series.
Chasing India’s total of 205/8, England were struggling at 49/5 before all-rounder Danni Wyatt (56 off 82 balls) stitched two crucial partnerships with skipper Heather Knight (47 off 63 balls) and Georgia Elwiss (33 not out off 53 balls) to pave the way for their victory.
England scored 208-8 in 48.5 overs to grab two crucial points as the three-game series is part of ICC Women’s Championship.
The World Champions are placed in seventh place and need to be in the top four to qualify directly for the 2021 World Cup.
India had already sealed the series after the winning the first two games.
Defending the target, veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami (3-41) rattled the England top-order, removing Amy Jones (13), Lauren Winfield (2) and Tamsin Beaumont (21).
Soon, it became 40-4 after off-spinner Deepti Sharma caught and bowled in-form Natalie Sciver (1) and then pacer Shikha Pandey trapped Sarah Taylor (2) as England lost half their side at 49.
But then Wyatt and Knight conjured an important 69-run stand for the sixth wicket.
After Knight fell, Wyatt added 56 runs for the seventh wicket with Elwiss to bring the visitors close to the target.
Elwiss and Anya Shrubsole (4 not out) then held their nerve to guide the side home.
Earlier, medium-pacer Katherine Brunt (5-28) grabbed a five-wicket haul to restrict India for 205/8.
India women had fritted away the foundation laid by Smriti Mandhana (66) and Punam Raut (56) after suffering a middle-order collapse.
Brunt, 33, was the wrecker-in-chief as the hosts suffered a middle-order collapse after they slumped from 129/1 to 150/7.
However, Deepti Sharma (27 not out) and Shikha Pandey (26) later ensured that the hosts crossed the 200-run mark.
Opting to bat, India lost Jemimah Rodrigues (0) early. But then Mandhana and Raut steadied the ship with their 129-run second wicket stand.
They initially played with caution and later hammered the loose deliveries, putting the English attack under pressure.
Mandhana, who mostly relied on pulls and drives, stuck eight fours and a six, while Raut hit seven boundaries.
But Brunt brought England back in the game by removing both Mandhana and Raut in the 29th over. While Mandhana gave a sitter to Dannie Wyatt at deep-mid wicket, Raut was cleaned up.
Brunt then trapped Mona Meshram (0) in front of the wicket and later sent Mithali Raj (7) back to complete her fifer.
Taniya Bhatia (0), Jhulan Goswami (1) also fell cheaply as the visitors made a splendid comeback in the middle-overs.
The two teams will now head to Guwahati to play the three-match T20I series.
By Nikhil Bapat