India skipper Mithali Raj guided her team to a four-wicket win over England in the rain-curtailed third and final ODI in Worcester on Saturday. The win gave India two points in the ongoing multi-format series, with England still leading six points to four.
Player of the Match Raj, who overtook Charlotte Edwards to become the world’s most prolific batter in women’s internationals, remained unbeaten on 75. Smriti Mandhana’s 49 had helped set up the 220-run chase after India lost Shafali Verma early. Jemimah Rodrigues’ poor form continued; she chopped on for four. And when Mandhana fell one short of her fifty, India was three down for less than 100.
Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur joined forces to add 50 for the fourth wicket. But just when the partnership was starting to grow, Harmanpreet was adjudged lbw. On replay, the ball would have struck her pad outside the line of off stump. But she decided against the review after consulting with Raj.
However, Raj, in the company of Sneh Rana, brought India on the brink of victory with a 50-run stand. Needing six to win off the last over, Raj got India over the line with a boundary.
“I never gave up in the middle. We just needed one good partnership to take us through,” Raj said after the match. “I knew I could manage the game in the middle overs. But when you have young players, you have to guide them. I have enjoyed chasing. I wanted to be there and win the game for the team. I picked the bowlers to attack and, along the way, guided Sneh Rana.”
Earlier, the Indian spinners struck at regular intervals to nullify a promising start by England as the host was bundled out for 219.
Down 0-2 and seeking a consolation win, India invited England to bat under overcast conditions in the 47-overs-a-side affair. England was comfortably placed at 110 for two, but its strategy to attack the Indian spinners resulted in wickets falling in clutches.
Nat Sciver (49) and skipper Heather Knight (46) propped up the England innings while Sophia Dunkley (28) and Kate Cross (16 not out) chipped in with cameos. For India, Deepti Sharma took three for 47 while Sneh Rana (1/31), Poonam Yadav (1/43) and Harmanpreet Kaur (1/24) were the others to contribute with the ball.
Indian enjoyed early success when Shikha Pandey trapped opener Tammy Beaumont (0) leg-before.
(with inputs from PTI)