England ease to nine-wicket victory in opening T20 clash with India

·3 min read
Sophia Dunkley (right) helped guide England to victory in the opening T20 international against India (Will Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)
Sophia Dunkley (right) helped guide England to victory in the opening T20 international against India (Will Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

England coasted to a dominant nine-wicket victory over India in the opening match of the Vitality T20 series at Chester-le-Street.

Set a target of 133 after Sarah Glenn had taken four for 23, opener Sophia Dunkley – who survived an early lbw dismissal off a no-ball – hit a fine half-century to guide England to victory with seven overs to spare.

Following a delayed start because of rain, England – led by Amy Jones after stand-in skipper Nat Sciver withdrew from the camp to focus on her mental health, feeling “emotionally fatigued” – won the toss and opted to bowl first on a green pitch.

There was a minute’s silence at Chester-le-Street ahead of the match in tribute to the Queen (Will Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)
There was a minute’s silence at Chester-le-Street ahead of the match in tribute to the Queen (Will Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

There was a minute’s silence before the match in tribute to the Queen, who died on Thursday.

England, still without captain Heather Knight, who is recovering from hip surgery, were looking to get back on track after losing to India in the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games.

Debutant Lauren Bell – the second-top wicket taker in the Women’s Hundred with Southern Brave – opened the bowling, but was soon hit for four by Smriti Mandhana.

In the third over, Bryony Smith struck Mandhana on the pads, which was given not out and upheld on review. Mandhana, though, was dismissed lbw for 23 to the final ball, Smith’s delivery hitting her as she knelt attempting a big sweep – and this time the third umpire offered no reprieve.

Sarah Glenn (left) accounted for Shafali Verma (Will Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)
Sarah Glenn (left) accounted for Shafali Verma (Will Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

A well-held catch from Smith at long-on accounted for Shafali Verma (14) in the seventh over off new bowler Glenn, leaving India at 47 for two.

Glenn then trapped Dayalan Hemalatha (10) lbw in the ninth over, before wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh found the first six of the match off Sophie Ecclestone as she and captain Harmanpreet Kaur pushed the recovery on.

Freya Davies, though, broke the promising partnership when Ghosh sent a slower ball to Smith at long-on in the 12th over, leaving India four down for 83.

Glenn continued England’s momentum as she bowled Kaur (20) with a low delivery and the seamer collected her third scalp when Kiran Navgire (seven) was caught by Danni Wyatt at deep mid-wicket, with India’s total on to 105.

India lost their seventh batter in the penultimate over when Vastrakar (three) was run out by Freya Kemp.

Deepti Sharma struck a four off the final delivery of the innings to finish unbeaten on 29 off 24 deliveries, while Sneh Rana was two not out in India’s 132 for seven.

England opener Dunkley survived an early scare having been given out lbw to Renuka Singh Thakur from the third delivery – which was shown to be a no-ball after being sent for review.

Dunkley was then dropped by Verma in the fifth over, as India’s fielding errors proved costly with England soon past the 50 mark.

Wyatt was stumped by Ghosh for 24 in the seventh over, but Alice Capsey continued England’s momentum, landing two sixes on her way to an unbeaten 32 off 20 deliveries.

Dunkley finished 61 not out from 44 balls, with eight fours and one six, as Capsey struck the winning boundary to see England home at 134 for one.