India began their ICC Women’s World Cup campaign in the perfect fashion with a 35-run win over hosts England in Derby on Saturday. It was their first win over the hosts since 2012.
Put into bat, Smriti Mandhana struck a sizzling 90 off 72 balls in a dominating batting display as India posted an imposing 281 for three after being asked to bat.
Mandhana forged a 144-run opening wicket stand with Poonam Raut (86 off 134) before skipper Mithali Raj (71 not out) completed an unprecedented seventh consecutive half century in ODIs.
India then returned to dismiss England for 246 with 15 balls to spare to make a resounding start to their World Cup campaign.
It is India’s first win over England in five years as they had all lost all six previous matches to the hosts.
Chasing 282 to win, England failed to build partnerships with only Fran Wilson (81 off 102) emerging as the highest scorer. Her run-out proved the turning point of the game as England looked good to chase down the target while she was at the crease.
Off-spinner Deepti Sharma took three wickets for 47 runs as Tammy Beaumont (14) and Sarah Taylor (22) gave England a decent start adding 33 in eight overs but Shikha Pandey removed the openers and Deepti Sharma dismissed Natalie Sciver (18) as England slipped to 67 for 3 in the 18th over.
Heather Knight (46) and Wilson took the team across the 100-mark. But Knight was back into the hut in the 32nd over after being run out by Harmanpreet Kaur.
Three overs later, Danielle Wyatt was caught and bowled by Sharma as England lost half their side.
Wilson then in company of Katherine Brunt (24) tried to keep them in the hunt as the duo added 62 runs but both of them were run out to dash England’s hopes.
Earlier, Indian openers Mandhana and Raut batted for 26.5 overs. While Raut was solid at the other end, Mandhana was out to attack from the word go.
The southpaw’s onslaught began when she smashed Katherine Brunt for four consecutive boundaries in the fourth over. Mandhana was a last-minute inclusion to the squad after she recovered from an Anterior Crucial Ligament injury she suffered during the Women’s Big Bash in January.
In the other match of the day, New Zealand completed a clinical win over Sri Lanka by nine wickets, chasing down Sri Lanka’s 188 with more than 12 overs to spare.
India 281/3 (Smriti Mandhana 90, Punam Raut 86; Heather Knight 2/41, Danielle Hazell 1/51) beat England 246 all out in 47.3 overs (Fran Wilson 81, Heather Knight 46; Deepti Sharma 3/47, Shikha Pandey 2/35) by 35 runs