India’s 88-run win, built on Harmanpreet’s 143 not out off 111 balls, means Saturday’s finale at Lord’s will be a dead rubber in the context of the series with England’s best hope now claiming the two ICC Women’s Championship points on offer in a consolation victory after winning the T20I leg of the tour 2-1.
Having opted to bowl in cool and cloudy conditions, England knew the key to forcing the series to a decider was to diminish the threat of India’s firing top order.
England started well enough when Kate Cross, playing her 50th ODI, bowled Shafali Verma in the second over of the match and Charlie Dean took a sharp return catch to remove Yastika Bhatia and break a second-wicket stand of 54.
Deol dispatched Ecclestone down the ground for six to move to 47 and raised her fifty a short time later with a single dabbed through midwicket, and then carried India past the 200 mark with another six, swept over deep square leg off Lauren Bell.
By the time Bell had Deol caught by Wyatt at deep midwicket, India were on track to post an imposing total and Harmanpreet was into a stunning rhythm.
They took 62 runs off the last three overs, 26 of those coming off the 48th as Kemp sent down six wides and went for three fours and a six. Harmanpreet helped herself to 18 of the 19 runs Kemp conceded off the final over, including another aerial cover drive for six followed immediately by three consecutive fours to complete a stunning display.
Alice Capsey, the prodigiously talented teenage allrounder, sent a scare through the England camp when she left the field in the 29th over after appearing to jam her finger into the ground trying to stop a well-struck ball from Deol at midwicket.
However, Capsey did come in to bat at No. 4 after England had slumped to 12 for 2 when Tammy Beaumont was run-out by none other than Harmanpreet, firing the ball in brilliantly to the non-striker’s end from mid-on and Renuka rearranged Sophia Dunkley’s stumps. Capsey looked determined to fight, dealing only in fours on her way to 24 off 10 balls before working Vastrakar off her pads to deep midwicket for her first single.
The DRS had been on the blink throughout the match due to technical issues and wasn’t available when Lamb was arguably unlucky to be given out lbw to Renuka while walking across her stumps and England slid to 47 for 3.
When Capsey fell for 39 steering Deepti to Shafali at mid-off, it was in the hands of experienced duo Wyatt and Amy Jones – England’s acting captain in the absence of the injured Heather Knight and Nat Sciver, who is taking a mental health break – to steady the home side again.
Renuka claimed her fourth when Ecclestone picked out Deol on the deep-midwicket boundary. Soon Shafali picked up her maiden ODI wicket – and third in international cricket – when Cross failed to overturn her lbw dismissal via a now-working DRS. Dean produced a solid knock at No. 9 to reach 37 from 44 balls before she was last batter out, stumped off Hemalatha, but the damage was done long, long before – by Harmanpreet.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo