Natalie Sciver was in fine form at Wantage Road

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

  • England 177/7 beat India 54/3 (8.4 overs) by 18 runs (DLS method)

The pandemonium of the penultimate over of England’s innings threatened to steal the show from a dominant batting performance at a wet Wantage Road on Friday evening. As it was, England’s steepling 177 was too much for a lively India side, who sparkled at moments but couldn’t match the all-round power of the home team. India’s 54 for three, posted in the ninth over before rain washed out the match, was well behind the DLS par-score of 72 required to topple England.

Natalie Sciver was the woman in form as she muscled her way to a 27-ball 55, equalling England women’s joint fastest 50 (from 24 deliveries) along the way. It didn’t all go to plan, however. On strike for the first delivery of the 19th over, the crunching all-rounder discarded a full toss to the midwicket boundary and England, on 159 for three, were eyeing something spectacular.

A spectacle did soon unfold but of a different nature, as three England wickets fell in five balls. India’s fielders, already earning their keep following a 78-run partnership between Sciver and Amy Jones (43 from 27), took centre stage. First it was captain Kaur to the fore, as Harmanpreet dashed in from long-on to time a dive perfectly and grab a Sciver long-bomb before it hit the turf. But that was just the warm-up act. A couple of balls later, Harleen Deol pulled off the catch of the series, and possibly the season, to dismiss Jones. 

Deol, a Twenty20 specialist planted on the long-off boundary, refused to believe that the ball was sailing over her head. Pedalling back, she plucked a nailed-on six with an outstretched arm, realised she had overbalanced, chucked the ball back into the field and then swiftly followed with a full-length dive, and the crowd was on its feet. Change the scorecards, because this was a wicket that the fielder deserved alongside her name alone.

🚨 ICYMI 🚨

What a truly outstanding catch this was from Harleen Deol! 🤯

Watch it and soak it in! 👌

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On a night of high drama, high scores and high class cricket, it was a shame that we didn’t get past nine overs of the chase as the rain set in. The Katherine Brunt–Shafali Verma face-off continues, but on Friday night it was Brunt’s turn as she rearranged the explosive batter’s stumps for a second-ball duck. As does Indian skipper Kaur’s poor run of form with the bat; in six innings in England she hasn’t gone beyond 20.

A night to remember – for India, in brief, fleeting moments of magic while for England, another collective job well-done as they now take an unassailable 8-4 lead in the series.