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Update ICC Womens World Cup 2017 - Fixtures & News updates
06-24-2017, 09:10 AM
Post: #1
ICC Womens World Cup 2017 - Fixtures & News updates
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06-25-2017, 01:35 PM
Post: #2
RE: ICC Womens World Cup 2017 - Fixtures & News updates
Mandhana shines as all-round India stun England

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Six months of a forced injury lay-off but Smriti Mandhana showed no signs of rustiness as she tore apart England's fearsome bowling attack on a slow Derby pitch to set up India's comfortable 35-run win in their ICC Women's World Cup 2017 opener on Saturday (June 24). The opener's sparkling 90 on World Cup debut, well aided by Punam Raut's sedate 86 and skipper Mithali Raj's record fifty, propelled India to their best score against England (281 for 2) before the bowlers wrapped up the hosts for 246.

Put into the bat under overcast skies, Mandhana took the attack to the opposition in a fine 144-run opening stand. She wasted no time in showing her class as she hoisted Katherine Brunt through backward square straightaway to get things going. One of the highlights of Mandhana's brutal knock came in the bowler's following over as she slammed four boundaries in the space of five deliveries, with flawless timing, to throw England's plans out of the window. Brunt's mauling underlined England's poor bowling upfront as India raced to 59 off the mandatory powerplay, 40 off which came of Mandhana's willow. The only respite for the tall pacer was a lone maiden she sent down - 33rd over of India's innings - in the otherwise sorry figures of 50 for none in seven overs.

The 20-year-old opener made the English bowling attack look pedestrian as she kept plundering the ball to all corners of the park. Natalie Sciver was brought on to make up for Brunt but Mandhana welcomed her into the attack with the first six of the game, over the long-on ropes. Jenny Gunn and Danielle Hazell managed to put a lid on the Indian openers right after the powerplay but that did not stop Mandhana from racing to her fifty with another elegantly lofted cover drive - her eighth boundary of the day.

With things slowing down in the middle overs, India's wise use of batting powerplay put Anya Shrubsole at the receiving end of Mandhana's assault, who kicked off with a six and wrapped up the over with back to back hits to the fence to fetch 20 in all. Skipper Heather Knight finally found a way past Mandhana's fury. Committed to her trademark pull shot, she faltered on the execution to offer short midwicket an easy catch ten shy of a World Cup century.

Reduced to a mere spectator all this while, Raut meanwhile had quietly notched up a half-century of her own. She didn't look at ease early on but Mandhana did the balancing attack with her slam-bang game. However, it wasn't just her fellow partner's free flowing ways but also a couple of drops - on 20 off Hazell and on 21 off Gunn - that allowed Raut to settle in comfortably for a long haul.

Raj was at the centre of the next two half-century stands, while getting a record fifty for herself. She shared a 78-run partnership with Raut before pounding 59 alongside Harmanpreet Kaur at close to eight an over towards the fag end. The opener was offered a third life on 77 but this time, unlike others, couldn't make the most of it, falling to Hazell in the 44th over for 136-ball 86.

Raj started slow but picked up pace in time as India approached the death overs. The visitors had 207 on the board and added 74 more in the final 10 to finish with a challenging score. Anything wide and short and the Indian skipper would delightfully dispatch it to the boundary ropes. She marched on to 56-ball fifty - her 47th overall and seventh on the trot - both now a record in women's ODIs.

Harmanpreet too gave a glimpse of her hard-hitting abilities, hammering an unbeaten 24 off 22 that included a smashing six over midwicket. The captain fell off the last ball, attempting to clear the boundary one last time, but the 281 India had on the board by then left England looking to pull off their highest run chase in the second half to get their campaign off with a win.

The home side's reply fell apart sooner than expected, despite Fran Wilson's counter-attacking 81 and Knight's valiant 46. Shikha Pandey's two early strikes, the famous 'spin choke' in middle overs and exceptional fielding in the second half meant India kept striking at regular intervals to not allow England build a steady stand.

India started their defence with the left-arm spin of Ekta Bisht from one end but quickly restored to the medium pace of Shikha Pandey and the move bought India two key wickets in her opening spell. Tammy Beaumont, dropped on one off Bisht, was again lured into chasing an outside off delivery when the edge flew straight into the hands of Mandhana at first slip. Next up it was Sarah Taylor - promoted back to the opener's slot in the absence of Lauren Winfield - who offered an easy catch to Mona Meshram at mid-on to leave the home side two-down in the space of three overs.

Drinks were called early with Mandhana limping off after troubling her just-operated left knee while fielding near the ropes. Meanwhile, Deepti struck off her very first ball of the game soon after but it took women cricket's first-ever DRS use to send the attacking Natalie Sciver back on her way. Otherwise a good sweeper of the ball, Sciver gloved it behind the stumps to Sushma Verma who pulled off a smart one-handed catch to her left.

With spinners springing into action, England had merely crawled on to 78 at the end of 20 overs when Verma missed a tough stumping chance of Knight. While it did cost India 30 more runs, it didn't prove fatal in the long run. But that doesn't take anything away from the way the English skipper played. With the asking rate creeping close to the eight-an-over mark, Knight took on Poonam Yadav and hit a couple of big ones to bring the equation down to 153 required in the remaining 20.

Disaster struck soon after as England lost their remaining seven wickets for 118 runs. Harmanpreet's blink-and-you-miss run out of Knight triggered a collapse and with bare minimum support from the other end, Wilson's 81 merely delayed the inevitable.

The English middle-order bat kept the scoreboard moving by steeling singles and finding the odd boundary. Pandey returned for a one-over spell where she was hit to the boundary twice each by Wilson and Brunt. Their 62-run partnership did raise the hopes of a comeback but tourists made up for some lousy fielding at the start with two exceptional run outs that put a lid on England's hopes.

Deepti's sharp throw beat a diving Brunt that capped off a forgettable day for the senior player. An over later, bowler Ekta showed immense presence of mind to catch Wilson short while trying to regain her crease after striding out way more than she should have for a non-existent single. Gunn was the victim of the fourth run out in England's innings but the chase was long over.

With 44 required off final three overs, Shrubsole decided to go on the attack mode but ended up offering Deepti her third wicket as India opened their campaign with an all-round win.

Brief scores: India 281/2 in 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 90, Punam Raut 86, Mithali Raj 71*; Heather Knight 2-41) beat England 246 in 47.3 overs (Fran Wilson 81, Heather Knight 46; Deepti Sharma 3-47, Shikha Pandey 2-35) by 35 runs.

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06-30-2017, 12:37 PM
Post: #3
RE: ICC Womens World Cup 2017 - Fixtures & News updates
Mandhana ton, spinners deflate Windies

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Smriti Mandhana fell marginally short of a century on World Cup debut but made amends with a fine unbeaten 106 to script India's seven-wicket win over Windies in Taunton on Thursday (June 29). Continuing a dream return to the international fold, the opener combined with skipper Mithali Raj for a 103-run third-wicket stand, enroute her second ODI hundred that laid the platform for India's comfortable win. Even though Raj fell short of her eight consecutive fifty, Mandhana stayed on till the end to take India over the line with more than seven overs to spare.

India's reply though was not without initial hiccups. Shamilia Connell dealt an early blow as Punam Raut fell off the fifth ball of the chase, trying to pull a short one. Promoted to one-down, Deepti Sharma didn't look at the top of things from the word go and paid the price with her wicket shortly afterwards. Having consumed too many dots, the left-hander tried to take on Stafanie Taylor but failed to connect and the ball pegged back her middle stump.

Despite the setbackat the other end, Mandhana carried on with flair to negate any advantage Windies might have extracted early on. She particularly went after Connell in the powerplay, picking up three boundaries and six to set the tone. Raj took her time to settle in after the wicket-maiden from her counterpart Taylor but for the 26 overs that the duo batted together, Windies were pushed to the backfoot.

There was no stopping Mandhana, who wasn't as brutal as against England but made scoring look just as easy. Daley strayed down the legside way too often and the left-hander used the pace to help herself to boundaries. In the second half, the Windies allrounder resorted to bowling short, and Mandhana pulled them away as effortlessly. With her partner in punishing form, Raj was happy to play the second fiddle. Her 88-ball knock worth 46 included only three fours. Hayley Matthews broke the century stand when the Indian skipper, within striking distance of an eighth fifty on the trot, failed to clear mid off for a tame dismissal. But with the century in sight, Mandhana carried on unperturbed.

She battled cramps, and some nerves, but stayed focused enough to bring up the hundred she missed on the opening day of the tournament, with a lofted drive through extra cover. While Mandhana sealed the deal with her 13th boundary of the day, Mona Meshram, chipped in an unbeaten 18, coming ahead of Hamranpreet Kaur.

Earlier, it could have been a walk in the park for the Indians if not for Matthews's attacking 43 at the top and some resistance from the lower order. The spin trio of Poonam Yadav (2-19), Deepti (2-27) and Ekta Bisht (1-23) bowled measly spells and Harmanpreet, though expensive, chipped in with two key wickets in the middle overs to rip open the Windies batting. It was Shanel Daley and Afy Fletcher's counter-attacking knocks worth 33 and unbeaten 36 respectively that gave Windies a decent 183 from their allotted quota.

Matthews feasted on India's strike bowlers, dispatching both Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey to the fence twice each after Mithali Raj opted to field first. But Windies' joys were short-lived. It took Ekta Bisht all of one ball to put an end to the opening stand in the seventh over. Scratchy from start, Felicia Walters attempted to cut the left-arm spinner but could only offer an outside edge to the keeper. Learning from their mistakes, skipper Taylor promoted herself at No. 3 but it was Matthews who kept a healthy strike-rate with a run-a-ball 31 in Windies' score of 43 for 1 at the end of powerplay.

Though spinners managed to put a lid on scoring once the field was spread, Raj frantically shuffled her bowling options to break the defiant second-wicket stand. She'd used as many as six including the part-timer Mona Meshram but the breakthrough came four overs into Deepti's spell, and triggered a panic in the opposition camp that resulted in five wickets for 22 runs. Enraged with her shot selection, Matthews trudged off the field after sending the easiest of all return catches Deepti's way and, in the process, throwing away another fine start.

The pressure of drying up runs - Windies had only managed 70 by the end of 20 overs - and the wicket of a set batter, took its toll on Taylor and in-coming Deandra Dottin. A communication breakdown between the duo playing their 100th ODI and Mandhana capitalised on the hesitation to hit the bullseye at the non-striker's end that cut short Taylor's stay on 16 in the landmark game.

Dottin struggled to rotate the strike and Merrisa Aguilleria was only marginally better as Windies added seven to their total in as many overs before dropping run rate consumed another wicket, Poonam opening her account this time. The wicketkeeper-bat was deceived by the turn and Sushma Verma was quick behind the stumps to whip the bails off, reducing Windies to 80 for 4. Dottin's misery came to an end soon after with Punam Raut taking a fine catch in the deep to give her namesake a second wicket.

Harmanpreet was also economical in her initial spell where she accounted for the wickets of Kyshona Knight and Chedean Nation in the space of five overs. The offspinner, who spent some time off field with a dislocated ring finger on her left hand early in the day, however leaked too many in the death overs that allowed Windies to aim higher.

But that doesn't take anything away from the way Daley and Fletcher played, especially against spin. After a poor comeback game, Daley justified her selection in the XI by chipping in a valuable knock towards the fag end of their innings that lend some respectability to the total. Goswami returned for the 36th over, just before drinks, but Daley's twin boundaries meant that was the end day for the senior pacer. The duo rotated strike better than any of the top-order batters and kept punishing the lose ones on offer.

It was Deepti again who produced a wicket just as Windies seemed to getting on top of things. Looking to accelerate Daley stepped out to the offspinner, only to be done in by some sharp glovework from Verma. But two quiet overs later, Fletcher looted 28 off Harmanpreet's last two to give Windies a fighting 183.

Brief scores: Windies 183/8 in 50 overs (Hayley Matthews 43, Afy Fletcher 36*; Poonam Yadav 2-19, Deepti Sharma 2-27) lost to India 186/3 in 42.3 overs (Smriti Mandhana 106*, Mithali Raj 46; Stafanie Taylor 1-24) by seven wickets.

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