Mandhana and Kaur topple multiple records as India pen history at Canterbury
It was an iconic spectacle to savour as the Women in Blue rewrote the Canterbury Tales, scripting history against the mighty English in the latter’s backyard. What started off as a historic moment for one of India’s most seasoned campaigners, Smriti Mandhana, culminated into a swashbuckling guitar solo played by the Indian captain and a crackling drum roll blasted by Renuka Singh to register India’s maiden ODI series win in England since 1999.
In a series that is supposed to be Jhulan Goswami’s swansong, India’s most trusted pacer for two decades now, the Indians came out all guns blazing at the formidable hosts and successfully destabilized an empire in a fortress that felt unbreachable for 23 years as India’s last series triumph in England came before Jhulan made her international debut.
Relying heavily on their depth in the batting order, the English skipper opted to bowl first, hoping to cut short the Indian aspiration within reach. The English bowlers repaid the faith in kind as they got the better of Shafali Verma and Yastika Bhatia in no time.
However, the scalp of Bhatia felt like unwinding the Pandora’s Box as two of India’s finest batters came together to string an impressive array of strokes before Mandhana feel short of another ODI half-century with Sophie Ecclestone dealing a crucial blow. Despite getting out for 40, Mandhana became the fastest Indian women to reach 3000 ODI runs as she bagged this feat from 76 innings, surpassing the likes of fellow Indian great, Mithali Raj who reached the milestone in 88 innings
Harmanpreet Kaur found this to be the right opportunity to get a few crucial runs in the bag and she started well with a series of exquisite hits that laid down the marker for the impending English doom. With every passing ball, Kaur seemed a lot more menacing while Harleen Deol played the perfect two to tango to the Indian skipper’s rampage.
Despite Deol’s fall after a well-constructed 58, Kaur continued with her imperious dominion that saw her bringing up her century in 100 balls following which she went totally ballistic. In the last 11 balls that she faced, she stitched together 43 runs to stay unbeaten for a staggering 143.
Riding high on Kaur’s blistering ton and crucial cameos from the other end, India piled up a momentous 143, leaving England a vertiginous mountain to ascend. Irrespective of the depth in their batting line-up, it is never easy to brave such a humongous target.
Even before the hosts could press the accelerator, India got an early breakthrough, thanks to a sizzling fielding enterprise from the Indian skipper who left the timbre in smoke with laser-like precision from range as Tamsin Beaumont had to return to the pavilion early.
India struck again in quick succession, removing a major obstacle from their way as Sophia Dunkley found her stumps going for a walk, thanks to a ripper from Renuka Singh. Despite the budding resilience of Alice Capsey and Emma Lamb, Renuka returned to dismiss the latter.
The English trio of Dani Wyatt, Alice Capsey and the English captain, Amy Jones offered a desperate lunge of resistance but the Indian bowlers were in no mood to let the grip loose as England’s woes kept on piling.
Charlie Dean stitched an important 37 but it wasn’t enough to help England see the light of the day as India swarmed over them in no time, skittling them out for a modest 245, clinching a historic win by 88-runs and a series triumph, securing an unassailable 2-0 lead over their counterparts.