England women held their nerve at the death to secure a two-wicket win over India at Dharamsala and close in on an ICC Women’s World Twenty20 semi-final place.
Charlotte Edwards’ side looked to be cruising when Heather Knight’s 3-15 restricted the tournament hosts to 90 for eight before England raced to 42 for one during their powerplay.
But Ekta Bisht took 4-21 and fellow spinner Harmanpreet Kaur 2-22 as England struggled to deal with the turning ball, and some questionable running between the wickets aided India’s cause further as seven wickets fell for just 45 runs.
Anya Shrubsole was then dropped by Kaur at cover in Veda Krishnamurthy’s penultimate over before slashing the winning boundary through backward point off the following delivery.
Having convincingly won their tournament opener against Bangladesh, England maintain their 100 per cent record in Group B and can book a semi-final place if they defeat the unbeaten West Indies on Thursday.
With Danielle Hazell ruled out for the remainder of the tournament through injury, Knight was asked to open with her off-spin and Vallaswamy Vanitha skied the third ball of the match to Lydia Greenway at mid-on
Natalie Sciver dropped Smriti Mandhana off Shrubsole in third over, but the bowler swiftly gained revenge when she bowled Mandhana through the gate for 12 with an off-cutter.
While the bowling was excellent in restricting India to 21 for two from the powerplay, England’s early fielding was unconvincing as Danni Wyatt dropped Shikha Pandey at deep cover.
Pandey received a third life when the umpire failed to spot that she had gloved Rebecca Grundy to Sarah Taylor behind the stumps, but she failed to take advantage as Katherine Brunt held a brilliant catch at deep midwicket to hand Knight a second wicket.
The dangerous Mithali Raj made 20 before falling to Sciver’s first ball, with Greenway taking a sharp catch at point.
Knight bowled Krishnamurthy for two with one which ripped back through gate from around the wicket and Shrubsole came back into the attack and immediately had Jhulan Goswami caught behind for the same score to leave India reeling on 65 for six.
Anuja Patil and Kaur rallied with a 22-run stand from 21 balls before both run out in final over.
England were clear favourites at halfway and, although Edwards fell cheaply to Bisht in the third over after a leading edge was taken by wicketkeeper Sushma Verma, Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor shared a brisk stand of 32 from 21 balls.
That should have put the result beyond doubt, but the pair fell to successive deliveries from Kaur, with Beaumont following three successive boundaries with a skier to Patil at square-leg on 20 before Taylor advanced down the track and was stumped by Verma for 16.
Knight and Sciver steadied the ship with a 20-run partnership before the former was stumped on seven charging at Bisht, and Greenway fell lbw first ball.
Sciver chipped a tame catch to Raj at short cover in Bisht’s next over to depart for 19, and Bisht affected her fifth dismissal when Danni Wyatt was run out by a direct hit.
Jenny Gunn was also run out for seven after a mix-up with Brunt, and Shrubsole then smashed a Krishnamurthy full toss to Kaur, who fumbled the chance as England scrambled home.
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