A humongous, authoritative partnership followed by a clinical bowling display helped India notch up their second win in the women’s T20 tri-series. Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur added an unbroken 115 for the third wicket, both hitting half-centuries in the process, to power India to 167 for 2.
The Indian bowlers, led by Deepti Sharma’s 2 for 29, then restricted West Indies to 111. Shikha Pandey, playing her first T20I since October 2021, returned economical figures of 0 for 18 off her four overs. West Indies’ only resistance came via a 71-run partnership between captain Hayley Matthews and Shemaine Campbelle.
West Indies gain early control
Having been asked to bowl first, West Indies made a good first impression. Having made her international debut for Barbados at the Commonwealth Games last year, Shanika Bruce – player her first match for West Indies – kept openers Yastika Bhatia and Mandhana quiet. She regularly beat Bhatia’s outside edge and only gave away two fours in her two overs in the powerplay.
From the opposite end, Shamilia Connell, who was impressive against South Africa, barely gave away runs, bowling ten dots in her two overs. In all, West Indies bowled 21 dots in the phase and gave away only 37 – 12 of which came off a single Karishma Ramharack over in which Bhatia fell.
Mandhana, Harmanpreet change the narrative
Harmanpreet was returning after missing the opening clash due to illness and found herself in the middle with Mandhana with India devoid of much momentum. They were placed at 60 for 2 at the ten-over mark with Mandhana on 21 off 20.
Harmanpreet then bookended the 11th over with fours off Matthews to signal a change of gears. The three overs after drinks saw India plunder 28. They also used the sweep against the legspin of Afy Fletcher and the delicate dabs against left-arm spinner Kaysia Schultz.
This was after wicketkeeper Rashada Williams dropped a regulation catch of Harmanpreet – when on 21 – in right-arm seamer Shabika Gajnabi’s first over. Mandhana took on Gajnabi’s next over, striking her for three fours, including one to bring up a 39-ball half-century. It was the 20th time she’d passed fifty, the third most by a player in T20Is.
The pair took 18 off the 18th over bowled by Connell, with Mandhana and Harmanpreet hitting a couple of fours each. Harmanpreet also completed a fifty in the final over as India managed to score 50 off the last four overs.
Campbelle, Matthews save West Indies the blushes
Deepti struck on her first ball in India’s defence of 167, trapping Britney Cooper lbw with the perfect offspin where the ball beat Cooper on the inside edge before having Williams stumped in her next over. Having injured her ankle after the first innings, Matthews slid down the order with West Indies – opening with Cooper and Williams – sending Campbelle and Gajnabi in at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively. When Gajnabi was out lbw in the seventh over, the script seemed quite familiar.
But Campbelle and Matthews then steadied the ship and changed gears after the tenth over when they were 39 for 3. While Campbelle swept the first ball of the 11th off Devika Vaidya for four, Matthews hit her for three more in the over. Both Campbelle and Matthews managed to find the boundaries regularly, but the target was never really within sight. They added 71 for the fourth wicket and it ended when Amanjot Kaur took a stunning catch after running to her left at deep midwicket and diving forward to dismiss Campbelle for 47.
Matthews managed to stay unbeaten but West Indies fell short by 56. They will now need to win both their remaining games to stay in contention for the final.