India down hosts in World Cup opener


Smriti Mandhana’s aggressive shot-making set the tone while Mithali Raj broke an all-time record, as India deservedly beat host England in their ICC Women’s World Cup opener in Derby.

India were put in to bat after losing the toss at The County Ground but looked impressive from the start as Mandhana, Raj and Poonam Raut did most of the damage in a total of 281 for three from 50 overs.

Contrastingly, England’s opening pair of Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor fell relatively cheaply, before four run-outs kept the pressure on to lead the visitor to a 35-run triumph.

India opener Mandhana was playing in her first ICC Women’s World Cup match but the 20-year-old showed no sign of nerves, as she compiled a fluent 90 from just 72 balls.

A quartet of her 11 fours came off a single Katherine Brunt over – three of which were driven through point from consecutive balls – while a pair of sixes were also launched over deep mid-wicket.

With her opening partner on the offensive, Raut could afford to play in a more circumspect manner but did make the most of being dropped on three occasions to reach 86 before being caught by Danielle Wyatt off the bowling of Danielle Hazell.

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Mandhana’s dismissal had brought Raj to the crease, and the India skipper ensured it was a day to remember as she made her 47th career ODI half-century, surpassing the all-time record of former England batter Charlotte Edwards, by notching 71.

England needed the achieve their record successful ODI run chase to snatch a memorable victory but fell to 67 for three as Beaumont, Taylor and Natalie Sciver all holed out.

The run-rate continued to climb as the India attack turned the screw and despite Fran Wilson’s maiden ODI half-century, a valiant 81 from 75 balls, wickets continued to fall at the other end and India bowled England out for 246 with 2.3 overs left.

India’s Smriti Mandhana said: “It was really important to give the team a good start. I started well and that gave me confidence and kept me going. That was our plan – to get off to a good start.

“I enjoyed batting with Poonam Raut a lot. We were both facing in-swingers but we had a very good partnership and we should continue that for the rest of the World Cup.

“I think I gave my wicket away at the wrong time, and next time I will try not to do that – I will try to bat for the 50 overs.

“I can’t compare my 100 against Australia to this but this is a World Cup, so it is a special one.