Conquerors of Caribbean
North Sound (Antigua), Nov 7
Comeback girl Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues hit contrasting half-centuries to lead the Indian women’s team to a 2-1 series victory over West Indies with a comfortable six-wicket win in the deciding third ODI here.
Mandhana, who missed the first two matches of the series due to a toe injury, smashed a 63-ball 74 and raised a match-winning 141-run partnership with fellow opener Rodrigues (69 off 92) on Wednesday.A solid foundation in place, India cruised to the target in 42.1 overs after the Indian bowlers did a commendable job of bowling out the hosts for a sub-par 194 in 50 overs.
Seasoned pacer Jhulan Goswami (2/30) and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (2/35) shared four wickets, troubling the rival middle-order after West Indies elected to bat. It was pacer Shikha Pandey and leg-spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad who removed the top-order as five of the six Indian bowlers in action were among the wickets. Stafanie Taylor kept fighting for the hosts with a combative 79-run knock but the other West Indies batters struggled to negotiate India’s attack.Left-handed Mandhana was her usual aggressive self, punishing the West Indies bowlers with nine fours and three sixers. It was her first ODI since the home series against England in February. Mandhana completed her third half-century in a row in 49 balls with a six. She had scored 63 and 66 against England in Mumbai. During the course of her innings, Mandhana (51 innings) became the third-fastest woman to the 2,000-run mark in ODIs, behind Australia’s Belinda Clark (41) and Meg Lanning (45). The 23-year-old is also the second-fastest Indian to the mark, only behind Shikhar Dhawan (48 innings). Virat Kohli reached the mark in 53 innings.
The two teams will now play a five-match T20 series, beginning Sunday at Gros Islet. — PTI
Brief scores: West Indies: 194 (Taylor 79, Ann-King 38; Goswami 2/30, Poonam 2/35); India: 195/4 (Mandhana 74, Rodrigues 69; Matthews 3/27)