IND vs ENG T20Is | Shreyanka and Saika spin a web around Knight’s England

India’s Shreyanka Patil celebrates the dismissal of England’s Sophie Ecclestone during their 3rd T20I match at Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai on December 10, 2023
| Photo Credit: ANI

 The dust has settled down on the WPL auction, but women’s cricket continues to fascinate this great metropolis. A big crowd turned up for the third final T20I at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

It might have been a dead rubber, England having taken a 2-0 lead, but the Women in Blue gave their fans something to cheer about finally.

India chased down England’s modest 126 with five wickets and an over to spare.

Finding her feet

India’s reply was led by Smriti Mandhana (48, 48b, 5×4, 2×6), who at last found her form, after her twin failures in the series. Though she got out when just 15 was required, she had done enough.

After Shafali Verma fell early — she exposed her stumps and was castled by Freya Kemp — Smriti added 57 for the second wicket with Jemimah Rodrigues (29, 33b, 4×4) to put the innings back on the rails.

The England essay was all about an excellent bowling effort from India, backed by fine fielding, and an exceptional knock under pressure by captain Heather Knight (52, 42b, 3×4, 3×6).

But for the skipper, the visitors would have failed to use up the overs, just like India’s did in Saturday’s second T20I.

Queen of Swing

Renuka Singh, the Queen of Swing, broke through early yet again, as she knocked back Maia Bouchier’s leg-stump off the third ball of the innings with a ball that moved in sharply. Not surprisingly, Renuka had a big smile after the ‘conquest’.

It soon turned out that most of the Indian bowlers would get plenty of chances to smile on this pleasant night.

Spinners Saika Ishaque and Shreyanka Patil, two of the finds of the WPL and who both made their debut in this series, picked up three wickets apiece in just their third match.

The duo, in fact, joined hands to end the promising knock of wicketkeeper Amy Jones (25, 21b, 3×4), Shreyanka catching the slog sweep at deep mid-wicket.

At the non-striker’s end was Knight, who stood tall among the ruins. She added 50 for the ninth wicket with Charlie Dean (16 not out, 15b, 1×4) to take England past 120, but the total wasn’t enough to win the day.

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