You may need to read back over everything below to get your head around it. England will not be able to understand how they let that match slip. Which means we’re all set up for the third T20, and the last of seven matches in the multiformat series, this Wednesday at Chelmsford. Winner takes all (if England) or an even share (if India). If tonight is any guide, it should be fun.
India win by 8 runs
What an extraordinary comeback. This game was England’s. They were all over it. Tammy Beaumont was batting on a different track. Heather Knight was cool support. Eight wickets in hand, barely needing six an over. Then both those wickets fell in a few moments of bad luck and bad decisions, and suddenly the rest began to fall away. Panic made itself felt. India made the most of it. And the series is still alive.
One more match to come, and that will decide whether England can win the series overall, or whether India can hold them to a tie.
What a match. First there was the blinding opening salvo from Shafali Verma, the kid cheerfully belting five fours in five balls from the venerable bowling champion Katherine Brunt. But then came the first of several strange tactical moves by which India looked to have cost themselves. Three overs that brought 43 runs were followed by overs that brought 2, 0, and 5. Not long after that, Mandhana and Verma were both dismissed, and after that came another go-slow couple of overs from Harmanpreet and Deepti. That early momentum was sucked out of the innings, and England were allowed back into the game. A bit of late hitting got the score near 150 but Shafali had it on course for more like 200.
Then came England’s reply, with Beaumont playing superbly, an awkward early dismissal of Wyatt, and the strange run out of Sciver. Beaumont had to put that behind her and push on, which she did, and had all but delivered the match to her teammates. At which point she and Knight are out in consecutive balls, Knight to an even stranger run-out than Scivers. At which point came the strange Indian move of bringing on a very part-time spinner immediately as two new players came to the crease.
But in the end, Harmanpreet and Deepti and Rana had got India just enough runs, and Poonam joined with Deepti and Rana to do the job with the ball. They didn’t even need to bowl out England, such was their ability to deny boundaries in those last few overs.
Poonam Yadav took 2 for 17 from four overs, a performance that defined the result, picking up Jones and Brunt. Deepti’s 1 for 18 was no less important, with the wicket of Beaumont and the accidental part in Knight’s demise. Reddy got one wicket early and the rest were run outs.
20th over: England 140-8 (Ecclestone 5, Glenn 1) The final ball Glenn lofts to deep midwicket but can’t beat the outfielder, and England fall short.
19.5 overs: 10 to win from two balls, they need a six, and they won’t get it. Ecclestone can only get one to long on!
19.4 overs: Belted by Ecclestone, four written all over it straight down the ground, but Rana gets her hand in the way and stops it! At a cost. It hurts, and she needs the physio. But she’s saved four.
19.3 overs: Just a single for Sarah Glenn, a leg bye.
WICKET! Villiers run out 2, England 137-8
Madness! Ecclestone drives to long on. Villiers runs the first and wants a second. Ecclestone doesn’t. Villiers turns back to the striker’s end a little bit casually. Thinks she’s fine. The throw comes to that end and the keeper has the bails in no time. And after many replays, we can see that the toe of Villiers’ bat is on the line, but not behind it.
She doesn’t think she was out. She stares at the screen open-mouthed, then from what I can tell asks, “What’s a duck?” But, she’s out indeed.
19.1 overs: Villiers whips to deep midwicket but Rana is too fast across the turf to give them time for a second.
19th over: England 135-7 (Ecclestone 3, Villiers 1) Mady Villiers to the middle. Clouts down to long on, Harmanpreet lets the ball bounce instead of risking a boundary trying for a catch diving forward. Poonam bowls the last ball miles wide of off stump, but Ecclestone has stepped all the way out there trying to play to leg. So it’s not a wide!
14 needed off the last over.
WICKET! Brunt c Ghosh b Poonam Yadav 5, England 134-7
Asking PoonamYadav to bowl the 19th over is bold, but it works! She gives it air, as ever. Brunt daren’t come down the pitch in case the ball dips, but staying home gives it the chance to bounce. Poonam gets such steep bounce from a full length, given the height from which the ball comes down. Brunt cuts, and the only contact she makes is a feather into the keeper’s gloves.
18th over: England 131-6 (Brunt 4, Ecclestone 2) Deepti Sharma sneaks through onto the pad of Brunt in front of the stumps, but she got a nick on it. Bottom edge, sweeping. The umpire gives the subsequent run as a leg bye. Can’t see how that was given not out if the umpire thought there was no edge. DRS would have sorted it out, but still strange. Then there’s a wide from Deepti, past the keeper, and almost another run out from a wide as the batters scrambled through for an extra while short fine leg sprinted in. Had the throw gone to the non-striker’s end instead of the other end, Brunt could have been well short. Ecclestone took off early. Some luck there, and some more as Ecclestone is dropped! Smokes the last ball of the over back past Deepti, who throws out a hand but nearly loses it in the process.
England need 18 off 12.
17th over: England 125-6 (Brunt 3, Ecclestone 0) England need 24 in 18 balls as Ecclestone can’t beat point from the last of the over.
WICKET! Jones c Rana b Poonam Yadav 11, England 125-6
Poonam Yadav coming into the attack is interesting. Bowling so slowly, taunting and teasing the batters, at a time in the innings when they want to lamp everything. Brunt gets frustrated by not laying bat on a couple. Charges and wallops a full toss for one. Then it’s the turn of Jones. She tries to Beaumont-Kerr technique. Walks across, wants to pull behind square. Goes hard at the ball though. Always the mistake with Poonam. Doesn’t get all that much of it, and hits it in front of square to the waiting catcher.
16th over: England 122-5 (Jones 10, Brunt 1) Another throw at the stumps to end the over, Deepti rushing to short cover to pick up off her own bowling after Brunt’s push. The throw misses at the bowler’s end. Might have been close.
England need 27 in 24.
WICKET! Dunkley run out (Mandhana) 4, England 120-5
A third run out for the innings! Jones dinks the ball into the leg side. Mandhana comes in from deep midwicket at a rate of knots. Dunkley turns at the striker’s end and belts back for two, not noticing that Jones doesn’t want it. Jones goes eventually. Deepti Sharma is standing over the bowler’s stumps. Dunkley never breaks stride. But the throw is fast and flat and it beats her home by a yard.
15th over: England 116-4 (Jones 7, Dunkley 2) Dangerous? Try getting off the mark with six over square leg. To be fair, Harleen Deol bowled an absolute mince pie, short and a foot outside leg stump. It deserved the whack. Quite why Harmanpreet went to one of the most part-time of her bowlers with two new players at the crease, I can’t say. She bowls a front-foot no-ball to follow that. The free hit only costs a single. But the over goes for 10, and England need 33 from 30.
14th over: England 106-4 (Jones 0, Dunkley 0) Two wickets in the over, one run. England need 43 in 36 balls, and have two players on nought. But Jones is dangerous and Dunkley is in form.
WICKET! Knight run out (Deepti) 30, England 106-3
The very next ball! A bizarre dismissal, truly. Amy Jones comes out to bat. Drives her first ball solidly back down the pitch. Knight is a pace or two out of her ground, ready to run. The ball comes straight back at her. Deepti Sharma springs across behind Knight wanting to field, to prevent a run. Knight steps back into the bowler. They get in a tangle. The ball ricochets off Deepti’s boot, then perhaps her shoulder, and into the stumps. Knight is still standing out of her ground and hasn’t reached back into her ground. Totally unintentional by the bowler to get that deflection, just as it was unintentional to get in Knight’s way. And Deepti had every right to go for the ball, it’s up to the batter where they want to stand and where they want to run. But you won’t see many stranger than that.
WICKET! Beaumont lbw Deepti Sharma 59, England 106-3
Richa Ghosh convinces Harmanpreet to go upstairs for an lbw review when Knight misses a reverse sweep. Might as well have a gamble. Looked like Deepti’s ball was hitting Knight outside the line of off stump, and so it was. Narrowly. No such luck a couple of balls later though, as Beaumont advances and then sweeps across the line. Hit fairly low on the pad and directly in front. England review just in case there would be enough bounce to take it over or enough angle to take it past leg stump, but DRS shows it clipping. A fine day with the bat comes to an end.
13th over: England 105-2 (Beaumont 59, Knight 29) Beaumont has been playing the cut shot perfectly today, and Arundhati Reddy just feeds it. Width, cut away. Less convincing as Beaumont swats across the line and gets a top edge very fine to the off side of the keeper for four more. Then walks across and plays the scoop, picking up a couple over Poonam Yadav’s head (not difficult) at short fine. All the shots are coming out now, SS Beaumont is picking up speed. Another hard sweep, another two runs, and they now need barely over a run a ball.
12th over: England 92-2 (Beaumont 51, Knight 24) England’s pair have reduced the equation to 59 from 54, a comfortable set of numbers with eight wickets in hand. Even when Sneh Rana manages to string together a few dots against Beaumont, you feel that it’s a temporary lull rather than a chance of direction.
Half century! Beaumont 50 from 39 balls
11th over: England 90-2 (Beaumont 50, Knight 23) Her other favourite shot is the conventional sweep, and Heather Knight hits it perfectly in this over. Bouncing through square leg for four. Radha Yadav has the ball back, having had a moment to clear her head after her troubles earlier. Beaumont drives a run through cover to raise her fifty, then Knight forehands through cover and even though Mandhana comes flying across fully extended in a dive, she can’t cut it off.
10th over: England 80-2 (Beaumont 49, Knight 14) Deepti Sharma bowls her off spin, Knight pulling out the reverse again but only getting a single this time. Six from the over, England still going nicely.
9th over: England 74-2 (Beaumont 47, Knight 11) Smart from Beaumont , she’s used the Amelia Kerr school of playing Poonam Yadav. Sees enough width that she knows it won’t threaten the stumps. So she walks way across, outside the line of the ball, waits for it to bounce, then plays the pull shot behind square. Later in the over, the same shot again. Beaumont is almost standing off the pitch itself by the time she hits the ball. But it’s coming down slowly enough that she has time to do that. Tries it a third time and gets a little top edge past the keeper for two. Poonam might need to bowl more at the stumps for Beaumont, or fuller.
75 needed off 66 balls.
8th over: England 64-2 (Beaumont 40, Knight 10) Heather Knight resorts to the reverse sweep to find a boundary, striking it nicely against Sneh Rana to start the over. Singles and a two thereafter, and the final tally is 10 from the over. The equation is 85 needed from 72. India need another wicket.
7th over: England 54-2 (Beaumont 36, Knight 4) Poonam Yadav time. The mad aerialist, the leg-spinner whose deliveries go up but may never come down. It can be very difficult to generate any power against her deliveries. Beaumont drives one run through cover, and it takes Knight four deliveries to replicate that effort. Two singles from the over, another Poonam triumph.
6th over: England 52-2 (Beaumont 35, Knight 3) Sneh Rana replaces the yip-afflicted Radha. A fine little sweep from Beaumont nets two runs, Shafali Verma putting in a big dive with a hard landing to tap the ball back. Her next sweep misses, and Ghosh appeals for caught behind but it flicked the batter’s trouser pocket. Only five from the over.
5th over: England 47-2 (Beaumont 30, Knight 3) Tamm Beaumont is playing a pearler. Width from Reddy, cut again. A laugh, a smile, and a shrug from Beaumont to her batting partner. Later there’s another fumble behind the stumps and Beaumont is again thinking of sneaking a run, but Knight says no way. Reddy oversteps, Beaumont absolutely flogs the free hit high into the air on the leg side, gets caught by Harmanpreet who then hurls in at the stumps as the crowd goes wild without having realised that the catch doesn’t equal a wicket. It really is all happening here at Hove.
England need 102 in 90 balls.
4th over: England 38-2 (Beaumont 24, Knight 1) An awkward old over for Radha Yadav, the left-arm spinner. Something is wrong with her grip, she must have some lunch condiments on her hands. Drags down one that Beaumont spanks for four, then bowls a double-bouncer that’s a no ball, then drags down the free hit as well, hard into the surface but Beaumont can only hit one run down the ground.
3rd over: England 31-2 (Beaumont 19, Knight 0) 18 runs and a wicket from the thid over. Let’s recap. Gorgeous from Beaumont to start, getting width from Pandey and using her high backlift to swish through the line of the ball, cutting four. Pandey overcorrects, and gives back the five wides that Freya Davies gave India late in their innings. Then repeats her first mistake, short and wide and slashed for four! Vicious.
Pandey must respond. Dishes up a half volley, Beaumont plays a savage cover drive, and it takes some work by the cover sweeper to keep the scoring to two. With India having packed the off side, Beaumont takes a single to square leg, and Sciver inside edges one to get off the mark. But with Beaumont on strike for the last ball that didn’t end up being the last ball, the fateful decision to take on the keeper was made.
WICKET! Sciver run out (Ghosh) 1, England 31-2
What on earth! On what should have been the last ball of a very eventful over, it becomes more eventful when Pandey bowls a wide. Well outside the off stump. Ghosh doesn’t glove it cleanly. Beaumont looks back and decides to scamper an extra wide. Perhaps Sciver wasn’t expecting it. Perhaps the ball just didn’t go far enough away. Ghosh leaps after it a few metres behind herself, picks it up cleanly, spins and falls at the same time, and throws down the stumps. Terrific work.
WICKET! Wyatt c Harmanpreet b Reddy 3, England 13-1
2nd over: England 13-1 (Beaumont 8) Ghosh is keeping up to the stumps for both opening seamers, making sure the England players have to think twice about venturing out of their ground. Both of them are inclined to move around, Beaumont more to shuffle, Wyatt to charge, so that might throw them off a little. Beaumont stays home to Arundhati Reddy and whips through the line of the ball, lifting it over mid on for four. Point and counterpoint. Both England players take on the arms of players in the circle when dashing singles. Harmanpreet nails the non-striker’s stumps with a direct hit, no wicket there. But it comes to her standing at mid off, Wyatt flat-batting a ball directly to her from the final ball of the over.
1st over: England 5-0 (Beaumont 2, Wyatt 2) Away we go. A good over first up from Shikha Pandey, swinging the ball into the right-handers as is her style. They’re only able to squeeze the ball out here and there for singles, one of them a leg bye.
England must chase 149 to win
That’s a fairly steep ask, 7 and a half per over, but England do have the firepower to do it. They’ve chased a score bigger than this on five occasions in T20 Internationals. So it’s possible, but it’s not everyday.
20th over: India 148-4 (Deepti 24, Rana 8) Ecclestone will bowl the final over, as she often does. Powerplay, death overs, doesn’t matter for this spinner. So hard to hit. And she does exactly this as well. Singles, singles. Both batters are winding up to go hard at her, and dragging her along the ground to sweepers. Rana nearly holes out to Sciver at long on, but it bounces in front. Deepti gets a fat top edge into a vacant spot on the leg side, but the last ball of the innings is a boost for India, Sneh Rana sweeping powerfully in the air and into the gap at midwicket. She’s been a revelation on this trip.
19th over: India 139-4 (Deepti 21, Rana 2) Sneh Rana gets a promotion in the batting order, and gets on strike after diving into her ground as Deepti calls for a sharp single to backward point. She’s been so impressive on this tour, in the Test and then in that ODI win batting alongside Mithali Raj. Has bowled nicely too, her primary suit. Takes a run first ball, driving to mid on. But Davies slips up with her third ball: down the leg side, stays a bit low, clips the keeper’s pad or gloves, and goes away to the boundary. Five wides for India, a gift, and Deepti follows it up with a cross-bat smash to the midwicket boundary. Almost hits the same gap next ball, with a more classical whip off the pads, but Danni Wyatt in the deep puts her body behind it and keeps it in play. A couple more singles, and 14 from the over.
WICKET! Ghosh c & b Sciver 8, India 125-4
18th over: India 125-4 (Deepti 14) OH MY GOSH indeed! Sciver has been so tidy today, done the job, but she bowls on a good length and Ghosh cleans it out over midwicket for six! Powerful strike, clean as you like. Ebony Rainford-Brent is down there in the crowd for the TV broadcaster and she leaps out of the way rather than rushing in to take the catch like most former players. That’s humility. Ghosh follows up with a looping outside edge towards point that Dunkley nearly snares running around from cover, but no dice. Then with the last ball of her spell, Sciver has the ball driven back at her, head high, and takes the catch as calmly as anything.
17th over: India 116-3 (Deepti 12, Ghosh 1) Ecclestone slams on the brakes. A couple of singles, Deepti almost edging to backward point, and then Ghosh can’t beat the field. Two from the over!
Richa Ghosh always reminds me of this song by Jamie XX, which also happens to have one of the most fascinating clips you’ll see. Filmed in a replica town in China.
16th over: India 114-3 (Deepti 11, Ghosh 0) Deepti Sharma is joined by Richa Ghosh. Glenn comes back to close out her over well, only two more runs as Deepti flicks through midwicket.
WICKET! Harmanpreet c Brunt b Glenn 31, India 112-3
Glenn to bowl, and Harmanpreet bails out of a charge after Glenn pulls back the length. But gets down low to the next ball and thrashes the sweep shot between the leg-side boundary riders. Comes down the track next ball and bashes six over long on. Then tries again over extra cover, beautifully struck, but Brunt comes around from long off and manages to hold the tumbling catch. Harmanpreet upped the pace when needed, and ends with 31 from 25 balls.
15th over: India 102-2 (Harmanpreet 21, Deepti 9) Sciver returns, and again manages to tighten the screws. Harmanpreet is trying to take her on but takes three balls to get a run. Deepti goes down the ground and they come back for the second, Harmanpreet diving into her ground at the far end and making it, needing some quick physio attention on a scraped arm. Five from the over, five overs to go.
14th over: India 97-2 (Harmanpreet 19, Deepti 6) Close call for Deepti Sharma! Tries to work to the leg side, big leading edge that goes high in the air, and Heather Knight running from mid on towards midwicket can’t get enough ground speed to arrive in time. Harmanpreet mistimes her own shot, less dramatically, to the leg side for another run. To end the over she finally gets onto a ball from Davies, smoking it through cover in the air. Brunt dives across but may only have got a fingertip to that ball. She sits down and punches the ground in frustration at not having been able to take the catch, though. Dunkley saves on the rope, then her throw back to the non-striker’s end isn’t taken cleanly and the batters get another run, three in all from the shot.
13th over: India 91-2 (Harmanpreet 15, Deepti 4) Harmanpreet sweeps Glenn and takes a single that doesn’t get very far from the bat. Deepti gets her sweep more cleanly to deep backward square, but saved. There’s no deep point for Harmanpreet though, no sweeper out there, and when Glenn drops short and wide there is only one likely destination for that ball. Harmanpreet cuts it sweetly to the fence.
12th over: India 83-2 (Harmanpreet 9, Deepti 2) More dots, dragging down the rate. Deepti Sharma drives back to the bowler, drives straight to cover, can’t get a single until the third ball. Harmanpreet tries the big sweep and underedges straight to short fine, no run. Alright then, she says, enough messing about. Charges, smashes Villiers over wide long on for six! Lovely shot too, that looked very good. And she shouts an affirmation to herself as the ball leaves the bat. Feeling the pressure of not scoring many runs lately, not hitting the ball the way that she enjoys. But that was a glimpse of Harmanpreet Kaur’s best.
11th over: India 75-2 (Harmanpreet 2, Deepti 1) This over in itself becomes a microcosm of the problem. Brunt’s one over earlier today was savaged. The boldness of Verma’s start was special. Brunt was dragged from the attack. Now Brunt is brought back for a second over. And Harmanpreet plays a forward defensive before glancing a single. Deepti blocks one, misses a couple, pushes a run to cover. The tactical thing to do would be to keep the pressure on the bowler who can be pressured. Instead India have let Brunt ease back into the game.
10th over: India 73-2 (Harmanpreet 1, Deepti 0) Now then. Does India throw away that blazing start? It has been the way this team has played for a while. Deepti Sharma comes out to join Harmanpreet, and there’s only one run from the over.
WICKET! Verma c Sciver b Villiers 48, India 72-2
Two in quick succession. Verma can’t capitalise on her audacious start. Villiers comes on to bowl off-breaks. First ball, innocuous enough, speared in at leg stump, and Verma wants all of it. Aims a huge drive, doesn’t hit it right, and Sciver down at long on has time to run all the way around almost to midwicket in the deep and hold the catch as it comes down. Good effort in the field.
9th over: India 72-1 (Verma 48, Harmanpreet 0) Davies follows the wicket with a wide that Jones can’t get across to, enabling India to pinch an extra extra. (Read all about it.) Harmanpreet Kaur has sent herself in after this fast start, rather than Harleen Deol who was listed at No3.
WICKET! Mandhana c Villiers b Davies 20, India 70-1
Davies goes around the wicket to the left-handed Mandhana, stays over the wicket to Verman. The batters trade singles, although one comes from a Verma wind-up that zooms out to the deep midwicket sweeper. Then from the fifth ball of the over Mandhana tries to repeat that lofted off-drive. Doesn’t strike it cleanly, it hangs in the air and comes down in the hands of cover on the edge of the circle, rather than clearing Mady Villiers to the boundary.
8th over: India 66-0 (Mandhana 18, Verma 46) Sarah Glenn, the leg-spinner, on to bowl. She’s off line with her second ball, down the leg side and Verma catches up and glances four. Cuts a wider ball but can’t time it, hard into the ground. Glenn gives it more air than Evel Knievel but Verma waits for it and drives soberly along the ground for one. It’s Mandhana who launches the next ball over the Grand Canyon, a crossover skip down the track and a clean off-drive that hits the boundary cushion down the ground on the full. Six runs.
7th over: India 54-0 (Mandhana 11, Verma 41) Bowling change, and here’s Freya Davies, the upright seam bowler with her galloping dressage approach and her bouncing equine hair. Mandhana pushes away a single behind point, raising the 50 partnership in 6.1 overs. Happy days. Verma has chilled out a bit and drives a single through mid on. Mandhana steps into an on-drive of her own, just past the bowler, one run. Brunt, looking grumpy, hurls the ball at the stumps. Verma brings out that bottom-hand strength again, clouting down to long-on on the bounce. Just five from the over.
6th over: India 49-0 (Mandhana 9, Verma 39) Ecclestone is back and she drops Shafali Verma! Again the Indian whirlwind is trying to flat-bat down the ground having given herself room. She belts it right back at the bowler, just to Ecclestone’s left at ribcage height. Both hands to it, but it bursts through. Verma misses a couple, finds the field, and Ecclestone gets through a scoreless over. So after scoring 20 from five balls, Verma has since scored 1 from 11 balls.
5th over: India 49-0 (Mandhana 9, Verma 39) Sciver comes back, and her lack of pace helps restore order to proceedings. Again there’s a Mandhana single first ball, but this time Verma can’t time a shot, hitting the field, hitting a couple a bit airborne. Is Sciver bowling well, or is Verma just increasing the mind games with Brunt? “Five balls from you, five fours. Five balls from your partner, one single.” It could be a very intricate psych-out.
4th over: India 47-0 (Mandhana 8, Verma 38) Her mood is up having faced the spinner, and now Shafali Verma wants to take down Brunt. Has this tendency to back away to leg a little to give herself room, and to start the over she drags a shorter ball over midwicket for four. Second ball, even more of a heave and it goes dead straight down the ground for another. Third ball, backing away again, Brunt pushes it wider to try to deny Verma the leg side. So Verma reaches out and times it to perfection through backward point!
By god, she’s good. At 17 years old, if you haven’t heard that a thousand times already.
Brunt bangs it in on a length. Verma heaves through midwicket again, four! Not an elegant shot, and not out of the middle, but it hobbles over the rope with a few bounces.
One ball to come. Even shorter. Bouncer. Hooked for four! Verma has hit five in a row. Much better purchase on this one, reaches above her eyeline to hook it away to the same spot she hit the last ball.
“Smriti Mandhana deserves some credit, because she got the single that got Verman on strike,” says Mel Jones on the telly. India got 21 from the over. Verma got 20 of them. She’s 38 from 17 balls.
3rd over: India 26-0 (Mandhana 7, Verma 18) Sophie Ecclestone comes on with her left-arm orthodox spin. She often bowls early in matches with the field up, but it’ll still be a method of tempting Verma, who likes to hit spin. And she does exactly that! First ball, gets down low and flogs a slog-sweep over midwicket, bouncing away for four. She has her own way of playing that shot, coming into it with her bat almost vertical before it becomes horizontal, and then a flick of the wrists as well that emphasises her action of fetching the ball from whatever line it happens to be on, before sending it in the same direction each time. Two balls later, she goes again, for six this time! Even better purchase on the same shot and sends it into the seats.
2nd over: India 15-0 (Mandhana 7, Verma 8) Katherine Brunt has the new ball from the other end, and charges in as she’s done since 2005. (Or 2004 in Tests, but you get my drift.) Both Indian batters use her pace cleverly though, reaching out and steering fine through deep third for four. Mandhana does it first, then when Verma gets her chance she utterly loves it, a beaming smile on her face after she reaches wide and gets more of a nick than she intended, but gets the four she wanted. She has had quite the battle with Brunt through this whole series across formats, and it’s been great viewing.
1st over: India 4-0 (Mandhana 2, Verma 2) Nat Sciver is taking the new ball in the absence of Anya Shrubsole, an all-round seamer doing the job in place of England’s new-ball swing specialist. She bowls a tidy line, and all four singles in the over are run down to deep third.
Harmanpreet Kaur *
Richa Ghosh +
Heather Knight *
Amy Jones +
England win the toss and bowl
Choosing to chase, as per conventional wisdom in T20 cricket, is no surprise. We’re watching this match from Hove, where the forecast says there might be some rain this evening but it should be after we’ve got the match finished. Here’s hoping.
Here is that catch, in multiple slow-motion replays, if you want to get your head around the physics. It’s a little bit Simone Biles in that respect.
Or here it is with commentary from a stunned Mark Butcher.
Ahoy, sailors. All aboard, let’s chart a course for Cricket Island.
Come to think of it, Cricket Island could probably be Sri Lanka. Or Australia. Or New Zealand, or the assorted lands of the Caribbean? (Cricket Islands?) Or, I suppose, Britain, which if I recall correctly is not the same as Great Britain, or the United Kingdom, or England, or the British Isles. But one of the aforementioned is an island, and others are multiple islands. Look, I think we’ve made this more complicated than it needs to be. Cricket Island is a mental island, a state of mind, a place we drift off to when we close our eyes. And we’re going there today to watch England play India, which is definitely not an island, but does contain some islands.
Are we all clear? Just coil up that rope before someone sprains an ankle.
This is England and India, the second T20 International in the series, and the second-last match across three formats. Two points for a white-ball match, four points shared for the Test draw. So England lead 8-4 with two to play. India can’t win the series but they can still deny England a win by taking these last two matches.
The first T20 was spoiled by rain, though England snared a win via rain-adjusted scores. What it did give us was Harleen Deol’s catch, currently pictured as the lead image for this page, which I have watched approximately 98 times since it happened. Let’s see what today has in store.