Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues secure India ODI series
India women 195 for 4 (Mandhana 74, Rodrigues 69, Matthews 3-27) beat West Indies women 194 (Taylor 79, Ann-King 38, Goswami 2-30, Poonam 2-35) by six wickets
Fifties from openers Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues helped India women to a six-wicket win in the third and final ODI, securing the visitors a come-from-behind 2-1 series victory against West Indies, in Antigua. Mandhana, returning from a toe injury, and Rodrigues scored at nearly run-a-ball during their opening stand of 141 as India chased down 195 after West Indies collapsed at the start and back end of their innings.
After electing to bat, West Indies lost opener Natasha McLean in the sixth over to seamer Shikha Pandey. A brisk 25-run stand between Hayley Matthews, who returned to the West Indies ranks after an eight-match suspension, and Shermaine Campbell ensued but was cut short when the latter was dismissed by Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
Matthews had been the aggressor during that partnership but was run out shortly after in contentious circumstances, replays suggesting wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia might have broken the stumps before she collected a throw from Mandhana, who was stationed at short third man.
It was down to captain Stafanie Taylor to lead her team out of the rut as when Chedean Nation's wicket made it 50 for 4 in the 18th over. Taylor, having struck a match-winning 94 in the first ODI, was involved in West Indies' two biggest partnerships - 34 for the fifth wicket with Kyshona Knight, and 96 for the seventh with experienced allrounder Stacy-Ann King. The latter was a substantial one, coming in exactly 15 overs as they took the attack to India before Taylor was caught and bowled by wristspinner Poonam Yadav. From there, West Indies went from 180 for 5 to 194 all out, with Jhulan Goswami taking two wickets and affecting a run out in the 49th over.
India's chase began sedately, with 13 coming off the first four overs with no boundaries. But once Mandhana hit King for four in the fifth over, the scoring rate increased. While West Indies managed to bowl a fair number of dot balls, Mandhana and Rodrigues managed to pick up boundaries often.
In the 18th over, Mandhana hit Afy Fletcher for two sixes to push the run rate beyond five an over. The left-hander got to her half-century with a scintillating six over covers off the 49th ball of her innings, offspinner Anisa Mohammed, in the 29th over. The boundary also brought Mandhana the distinction of becoming the third-fastest woman (51 innings) to the 2,000-run mark in ODIs, behind only the Australian pair of Belinda Clark (41) and Meg Lanning (45).
Matthews eventually had Rodrigues stumped at the start of the 26th over, for a 92-ball 69, her third ODI fifty, and got Mandhana off her next over for a 63-ball 74 that included nine fours and three sixes. From there - 150 for 2 in 27.2 overs - India sealed the win with patience, in the 43rd over, although the wickets of captain Mithali Raj (20 off 35 balls) and Punam Raut (24 off 49 balls) within six balls of each other did reignite - if briefly - memories of the implosion that had cost India the first ODI by only one run. Punam became the second Indian batsman on the day to complete 2,000 runs in ODIs.
With four points from the two wins in this three-match series, India are now placed third in the women's championship table. They have collected 20 points in 18 matches, four ahead of South Africa who are fourth. West Indies, meanwhile, are second from the bottom with 13 points in 21 games.