Sciver-Brunt and Wyatt propel England to a 1-0 lead

Ahead of this weekend’s second WPL auction, Danielle Wyatt provided a useful reminder of her devastating powers by hitting a match-winning 75 off just 47 balls, which enabled England to win by 38 runs at the Wankhede on Wednesday, December 6. After being put to bat, the visitors bounced back incredibly well from two blowouts in the first over thanks to a 138-run partnership between Nat Sciver-Brunt (77 off 53 balls) and Wyatt, posting an impressive total of 197/6. Despite frequent strikes, Shafali Verma’s heroic fifty could only lead India to 159/6 in response.

Thakur returns with a bang!

India’s pace-attack captain was largely responsible for their excellent opening bowling performance. Renuka Thakur struck twice in her maiden over after returning to the international scene following a back injury. After Sophia Dunkley gave away a wicket early on, the pacer sent Alice Capsey’s off-stump for a cartwheel with the next delivery, bringing England to 2/2 in five balls. But for the following fourteen overs, that would be the only brief period of domination for the home team.

Sciver-Brunt and Wyatt come to the rescue

For the rest of their innings, the duo helped England recover and raise the strike rate to almost 9.5 by first stabilizing and then picking up speed. Naturally, it was advantageous that India’s catching and fielding were both careless. Sciver-Brunt, who was accustomed to such dangerous circumstances, took the lead when she faced Saika Ishaque and Pooja Vastrakar, two colleagues of the Mumbai Indians, to help England surpass 50 in the seventh over.

Playing her historic 150th Twenty20 International, Wyatt did not spare the rookie spinner either, sending her back into the attack with back-to-back fours following a PowerPlay. Additionally, there was no mercy afforded to the off-spinners, as Deepti Sharma leaked 20 in her opening two and Shreyanka Patil was only slightly better at 19. In the twelfth over, Wyatt reached the partnership’s 100 and her 13th T20I fifty with a six-ball down the ground. Sciver-Brunt quickly followed suit, reaching the milestone in just 36 balls.

Despite late wickets, England ends the innings on a high

Ishaque, who was immediately put under pressure, proved her worth by making the significant breakthrough that India had been waiting for. Wyatt was tempted to step out of her crease by a tossed-up delivery, but Richa Ghosh quickly removed the bails due to flight. The Indian debutant quickly removed her RCB teammate’s off stump for her first-ever international wicket, while the England captain was in and out in the blink of an eye. But, Sciver-Brunt’s hat-trick of limits as she entered her seventies further irritated Vastrakar and India. 

India loses a couple in the Powerplay

After returning with the ball in hand, Sciver-Brunt restricted the pace of the home team’s fast start by stumping Smriti Mandhana’s stumps off of her second delivery. Better yet, Freya Kemp scored on her opening ball, causing Jemimah Rodrigues to nick behind. If India had already finished their PowerPlay with a fifty score, it was because of Verma and her six boundaries at that point, when she faced both their seasoned vice-captain and English speedster Mahika Gaur.

Spinners control proceedings despite Verma’s fifty

Despite her strong start, Kemp gave up 30 runs in her next 11 deliveries, of which Harmanpreet Kaur hit 23 boundaries and a six. Nevertheless, England sent the ball to Sophie Ecclestone, who cut short the Indian captain’s cameo. Harmanpreet ultimately failed to capitalize and fell for 26 after pulling an inside edge onto the sticks. India never looked in the chase, except for a few isolated moments of brilliance. While Ghosh did promise to add some fire with a six and a four inside the first four balls she faced, Sarah Glenn’s slower shot ultimately proved to be too much for her, as she holed out to long-on on 21. 


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