Smriti Mandhana remained unbeaten through the innings, while the spinners stepped up collectively as India won their second match of the tri-series, defeating West Indies by 56 runs at Buffalo Park, East London on Monday.

Harmanpreet Kaur and Co have won both their matches in the tri-series, also featuring hosts South Africa, so far as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup in the country.

With Kaur back to lead the side after missing the win against South Africa, India opted to bat first and posted 167/2 in their 20 overs. The start was a sedate one as Yastika Bhatia struggled to get going in the powerplay while Mandhana largely was off strike. Harleen Deol came in at No 3 but her stay was shortlived too. But once Kaur joined Mandhana in the middle, the scoring rate picked up and the partnership punished Hayley Matthews’ side.

West Indies also paid the price for dropping Kaur twice. The star batters added an unbeaten 115 runs for the third wicket off 70 balls with Mandhana making 74 and Kaur scoring 56.

In the chase, West Indies never really got going in the first half, making just 39 runs in the first 10 overs. Deepti Sharma once against started brilliantly, picking up two early wickets. Matthews and Shermaine Campbelle were aggressive in the second half but there was too much to be done at the end.

Shikha Pandey made a comeback to the side after more than a year out and though she finished wicket-less, she bowled with good control and kept the pressure while India relied on their spinners heavily once again. West Indies finished 111/4 in their 20 overs.

Mandhana, who took her time before opening up, said after the match that the plan was to not go hard in the initial overs. “I think the wicket was similar [to the previous match,” the opener said. “But after the first game we understood our mistakes and learned how to bat on that wicket. That’s what we discussed and we did not want to go hard in the first few overs and that’s what the team expected from me. When Harmanpreet came out it became easy to make that score.”

It was Mandhana’s 20th fifty-plus score in the format and she is now the first Indian to achieve that feat, placing herself third in the overall list behind only Suzie Bates (24) and Stafanie Taylor (21).

For captain Kaur too, the key was not rushing their batting. She said after the match, “We didn’t want to hurry with the bat at any cost, and keeping wickets gives you confidence. We have to bat really well on these pitches where runs are not easy to get. Smriti batted well and so it was easy for me to hit. I was not available for the previous match and I am happy to make runs today.”