England will play for Commonwealth bronze in the women’s Twenty20 competition and missed a golden opportunity in the semi-final against India.
Backed by a big home run at full house Edgbaston, they survived a crushing attack from Smriti Mandhana that had India run 10 times at a time and increased 50 on 23 balls before England pulled the total to 164 for five.
Then they had a chase in hand, needing 33 rounds of four overs, but after Amy Jones and Natalie Skiver went out, England were short by four runs.
India had a huge fan following in attendance and shook the stands during the first seven trips as Mandana sent archers to the sword. It was roles that blended signature left-handed elegance with sheer power. I used Issey Wong’s pace to hit a flat pull-down shot for six, added another Sciver-medium velocity over the midwicket and started Sarah Glenn’s long broken leg.
In between, she ran through the roof and swept the spinners to the fence with impeccable posture, breaking her own Indian record for fastest half-century in shape.
Shafali Verma has kept her company making 73 hits in the first seven overs. That’s when Freya Kemp caught Verma trying to hit the ground hard, and then Skipper tricked Mandana with a slower ball, which cut her into a thin short shank, ending her innings on 61 of 32 balls.
This start defined India’s total, with Jemimah Rodrigues adding 44 of 31 and turning around the crease to create boundary gaps above the cap or midway. England managed to throw in some decent amounts and had Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti Sharma run the ball which meant their chase-run was 10-20 times lighter than it probably looks.
England started faster than India, although they lost Sophia Dunkley lbw for 19 weights, but rose 42 to one after four times to 40 to none in India. Wide balls and volleys from opening round Rinuka Singh Thakur helped score, Dunkley swung hard, Danny White kicked off the kicks across the offside line and Alice Capsi returned to third after Dunkley fell.
But the teen, who had several runs for England, made an age-appropriate error with her 13 when she succumbed to the second round despite the ball coming from behind on the way back to the goalkeeper. Capsi turned back to the non-striker’s end and submerged, but her racket was turned upside down and the ledge on her back lifted it. It was over her land but not in it.
White had a similar opportunity at 35, breaking out of the stump but missing a ball, bouncing the ball off her pillow and onto the stumps. Now it’s India’s turn to reclaim the promotion, as it has surrounded the character of Sciver and Jones closely with the calm actions of Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma.
“They made it difficult for us,” Siever said. “He threw the ball really well, tied us up, and pulled out our limited options.”
Match 16 appears to have swung again as part-time spinner Harmanpreet addressed Verma with more, which was tied for 15 by Jones and Seaver. That gave England an equation they desired, with seven stakes on hand.
But Deepti and Sneh Rana turned the screws again with a superb display of the uncoupled turn, adding to the desperation as Jones ran out at one speed, and then Sciver tried to come back for the second round, one ball after a hard pull of six.
That left 13 times to be desired and England must look back at the decision-making process, sending Maya Boucher and Katherine Brent ahead of the more natural six-stroke Sophie Ecclestone.
Ecclestone backed that up by calmly driving the second ball on the rope. But it was the last ball of the match and England’s chance of getting the gold was already over them.