Dharamsala: England women’s cricket team overcame a valiant India by two wickets in a thrilling Group B match in Dharamsala on Tuesday to maintain a clean slate with a second successive win in the ICC World Twenty20.
India, restricted to 90 for eight after being sent in to bat, fought back through its spinners before England squeezed through in the penultimate over after losing eight wickets.
England, which won the inaugural tournament in 2009 and was runner-up to Australia in the last two editions, are favourites to top the group with matches in hand against the West Indies and Pakistan.
Both teams had defeated Bangladesh in their opening matches, but India was beaten by arch-rival Pakistan in its second outing. The host must not only beat the West Indies in its last match but also hope other results goes its way to keep semi-final hopes alive.
India found runs hard to come on a spinning pitch against a steady England attack with only Harmanpreet Kaur (27) and skipper Mithali Raj (20) managing to touch 20.
All-rounder Heather Knight, who opened the bowling with her off-spin, grabbed three wickets for 15 runs in her four overs. Anya Shrubsole had two for 12 from her four overs.
England slipped to 42 for three after a dramatic opening over from Kaur, who was brought on to bowl the sixth over.
Tammy Beaumont smashed the first three deliveries for boundaries, before being caught at mid-wicket off the fourth ball top-edging a sweep shot.
Sarah Taylor, who had crossed over, was stumped off the next delivery, leaving Natalie Sciver to deny Harmanpreet a hat-trick.
Left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht, playing her first match in the tournament, removed Knight and Lydia Greenway off successive deliveries to make it 62 for five in the 12th over.
As England continued to lose wickets amid mounting tension, the score tumbled to 79 for seven and then 87 for eight, before Shrubsole hit a boundary off the last ball of the 19th over to seal victory.
“It was a nerve-wracking game,” said a visibly relieved England captain Charlotte Edwards. “It does not get any easier, but it was good to beat India on their home ground and gain full points.
“I thought the girls did fantastically well and held their nerve. We bowled very well and that helped us win.” (ANI)