Medium pacer Renuka Singh’s fifer and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana’s fine half-century went in vain as India lost to England by 11 runs to suffer their first defeat in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup on Saturday. Renuka Singh registered her best bowling figures (5/15) to help India restrict England to 151 for seven after Harmanpreet Kaur opted to bowl. Renuka did the early damage, picking up the first three wickets to peg England back and then returned to take two more towards the fag end of the innings.
In the chase, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana led the charge with a 41-ball 52, which was studded with seven boundaries and a six, while Richa Ghosh remained unbeaten on 47 off 34 balls as India fell short by 11 runs, managing 140 for 5 in their 20 overs.
India did not have the best of starts, losing Shafali Verma in the fourth over. Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet too departed in quick succession as India slumped to 62 for 3 in 10.2 overs.
But Mandhana and Ghosh shared a 43-run fourth-wicket stand to keep India in the hunt.
But England skipper Heather Knight made some brilliant bowling changes towards the end to stifle India’s run flow.
Needing 34 runs off the final two overs, Sophie Ecclestone bowled a brilliant penultimate over, giving away just three runs and also accounted for the wicket of Deepti Sharma.
In the final over, the asking became too steep, but Ghosh found the boundary twice and also hit a six off Katherine Sciver-Brunt, but it was not enough.
With India needing 59 off 30 balls, Mandhana tried to up the ante and stepped out to hit Sarah Glenn for a maximum to bring up a well-deserved half-century.
But the bowler had the last laugh as Mandhana departed in search of one too many, caught by Katherine Sciver in the very next ball.
Earlier, India made a perfect start after opting to bowl as Renuka induced a faint outside edge from Danni Wyatt and Richha Ghosh gleefully accepted the chance in the third delivery of the day.
Renuka was on fire as she accounted for two more English batters in her next two overs to hand India the upper hand after Harmanpreet won the toss and elected to bowl.
Renuka first cleaned up Alice Capsey in the third over and then came back to disturb the woodwork of Sophie Dunkley in her next over as England slumped to 29 for 3 in 4.4 overs.
Thereafter, Nat Sciver-Brunt and skipper Heather Knight (28) took the attack to the opposition and played aggressively.
The duo shared a 51-run stand off just 38 balls to give some impetus to England’s innings.
But just when the partnership was looking threatening, Shikha Pandey broke the stand, picking up her first wicket since October 2021.
It was a lucky breakthrough for Pandey as Knight picked out Shafali Verma in the covers — the only fielder inside the circle — from a juicy full toss outside off.
Nat Sciver did all the hard work en route her 42-ball 50 but gave away her wicket when England needed her the most, caught by Smriti Mandhana at short third man off Deepti Sharma’s bowling as the batter went for a reverse sweep, only to miscue it.
In the final over of England’s innings, Renuka accounted for Amy Jones (40 off 27) and Katherine Sciver-Brunt to record her best T20I bowling figures.
England are through to the semi-finals, while India will play Ireland next on February 20.
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