India snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as England beat the hosts by one run in the third and final women’s Twenty20 International, completing a series whitewash in Guwahati on Saturday.
This was India’s second consecutive T20I series whitewash and the seventh consecutive defeat in the shortest format.
Chasing England’s modest 119/6, the Indians had only themselves to blame as they were on course to register a consolation win after having lost the first two matches. Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj’s batting efforts went in vain, thanks to a lowed order choke.
India needed just three runs from the final over with veteran Raj well set in the middle on 30 off 32 balls. But unfortunately for India, the ODI skipper was left stranded at the non striker’s end and did not get an opportunity to face a single delivery in the final over of Kate Cross (2/18).
Bharati Fulmali (5 off 13) was guilty of wasting the opening three deliveries of the final over before handing Cross her first wicket, a straight forward catch to Anya Shrubsole at mid-off while trying to clear the in-field.
More insensible batting was on display from the Indian lower-order as Anuja Patil too tried to go for a big shot in the next delivery instead of giving the strike back to Mithali, in the process getting brilliantly stumped by Amy Jones.
From three off six balls, the equation became three off one for India and Shikha Pandey — inexplicably sent below Fulmali and Patil — could only steal a single even as Mitahli helplessly watched the drama unfold from the other end.
Besides Mithali, skipper Mandhana smashed a quickfire 58 off 39 balls at the top to keep India one step ahead in the chase.
While Mandhana decorated her innings with eight boundaries and one six, Mithali’s unbeaten knock was laced with four hits to the fence.
With the series already in their pocket, England women earlier posted a modest 119 for six from their 20 overs after electing to bat. Tammy Beaumont (29) and Danielle Wyatt (24) got England off to a flying start, stitching 51 runs for the opening stand. Besides the duo, wicket-keeper Amy Jones made a 21-ball 26.
The off-spin duo of Anuja Patil (2/13) and Harleen Deol (2/13) put the brakes in the middle-overs for India.
India lost the first T20 by 41 runs before suffering a five-wicket defeat in the second match to hand England the series.
India had earlier won the three-match ODI series 2-1.
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