2nd T20I: Smriti Mandhana guides India to series-levelling win over England

DERBY: Opener Smriti Mandhana hit a stroke-filled unbeaten fifty after off-spinner Sneh Rana snared three wickets to hand India women a comprehensive eight-wicket win over England in the second T20 International and level the series 1-1 here.
England’s decision to bat first on Tuesday night backfired as Indian bowlers raised their performance by a notch to reduce the hosts to 54 for five inside 10 overs.
England found the going tough in the initial overs, losing wickets at regular intervals before teenager Freya Kemp (51 not out off 37 balls) and Maia Bouchier (34 off 26) shared 65 runs for the sixth wicket to resurrect their innings.
While the 17-year-old Kemp struck three fours and as many sixes during her rearguard knock, Bouchier decorated her innings with four boundaries.
But once Rana broke the dangerous-looking partnership, taking the wicket of Bouchier stumped by Richa Ghosh in the 18th over, the writing was on the wall for England.

Kemp, though, tried hard her level best and used her long handle to great effect to pick up 23 runs in the remaining 15 balls in the company of Sophie Ecclestone to take England to 142 for six and give their bowlers at least something to defend.
Rana was the wrecker-in-chief for India returning with fine figures of 3 for 24 from her four overs, while Renuka Singh (1/30) and Deepti Sharma (1/21) picked up two wickets at the top.
India began their chase in a fine fashion with Mandhana (79 not out off 53) and Shafali Verma (20) adding 55 runs in the first six overs.
Ecclestone finally got the breakthrough for England when Verma hipped back to the bowler, who dived to her right to complete a fine caught and bowled opportunity.
Dayalan Hemalatha (9) once again disappointed as Freya Davies cleaned her up 16 balls later.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (29 not out off 22) then joined her deputy Mandhana at the crease and the duo played effortlessly, stitching unconquered 69 runs for the third wicket to complete the formalities as India 146 for two in 16.4 overs.
In fact, Mandhana hit three boundaries off Davies in the 17th over — first smashing through backward covers, then creaming through midwicket and then completed the chase with smacking shot over the bowler’s head to the long-on boundary.
There were no sixes in the match from the Indian batters but Mandhana found the fence 13 times, while Harmanpreet and Verma struck four boundaries each.
It was an ordinary bowling display from the home team as Ecclestone (1/22) and Davies (1/30) were the only two wicket takers.
England had won the first match by nine wickets. The third T20 of the three-match series will be played in Bristol on September 15.
Brief Scores:
England Women:142 for 6 in 20 overs (Freya Kemp 51 not out, Maia Bouchier 34; Sneh Rana 3/24)
India Women: 146 for 2 in 16.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 79 not out, Harmanpreet Kaur 29 not out; Sophie Ecclestone 1/22)

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