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CWC 22: Hopes still alive for England as Knight guides them for the first win.

Charlie Dean’s 4 for 23, Heather Knight’s 53, and Nat Sciver’s 45 helped the defending champions win their first game of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022. 

Match 14 of the 2022 World Cup was played between the finalists of the 2017 World Cup, India and England, at Bay Oval in Tauranga on Wednesday (March 16). England won the toss and elected to field first.  

The Indian openers Smriti Mandhana and Yastika Bhatia started off positively. However, Anya Shrubsole who wreaked havoc and broke millions’ hearts of Indians with her bowling in 2017’s world cup final, struck early in this match as she sent Bhatia and Mithali Raj back to the pavilion in her successive overs. Bhatia also became her 100th ODI wicket. Deepti Sharma tried to steal a single run but poor judgement led to her run-out as Kate Cross was quick to collect the ball and throw it directly at the stumps before she could reach the crease. India was down to 23 for 3 in 8 overs. 

Mandhana and Kaur, the star batters of the previous game against the West Indies, were in the middle as India was in search of a partnership and the duo hit a couple of boundaries. However, in the 17th over, captain Knight introduced young off-spinner Charlie Dean who playing her just second world cup match took two wickets in this over of Kaur (14 off 26) and Sneh Rana for a duck who came in ahead of Richa Ghosh. Set batter Mandhana fell to Sophie Ecclestone at 35 off 58 and Dean took another wicket of Pooja Vastrakar and India was down to 88 for 7 by the end of 25 overs. 

Richa Ghosh and Jhulan Goswami attempted to recuse India as Goswami smashed Cross for a six down the ground followed by a four from Ghosh. However, Cross came back in the 32nd over and broke the 37-run partnership as Ghosh was run-out at 33 off 56 followed by Jhulan’s (20 off 26) wicket in the same over. Dean finished it off by taking Meghna Singh’s wicket and got her career-best bowling figures 4 for 23. India was bowled out for just 134 runs in 36.2 overs. England never gave India a chance to rebound. Mandhana and Ghosh were the only players to cross the 30-run mark. This total is India’s lowest in the last four world cups. Dean was the pick of the bowler and Shrubsole took two wickets. 

In return, Indian pacers gave an early breakthrough. Singh got Danni Wyatt as Rana took a wonderful catch at slips. In the very next over, Goswami got Tammy Beaumont LBW but originally it was given not out India reviewed and the decision turned in their favour as the ball hit the pad first. They were down to 4 for 2 in just three overs. 

Captain Heather and her deputy Nat Sciver were in the middle and formed a partnership that was needed. Sciver, one of the best all-rounders in the world, got off the mark with a four followed by another in the same over. She played a role of an aggressor and Knight was trying to settle. In the 17th over, after hitting a four off Vastrakar she was caught by Goswami on the next ball at 45 off 46 which included 8 fours. 

Amy Jones smashed Rajeswari Gayakwad for a six before Kaur took a fantastic catch to dismiss her. Knight scored her 23rd ODI fifty in 66 balls and in the same over Sophia Dunkley took on Singh and smashed her for two fours. However, in her next over Dunkley was edged and taken by Ghosh at 17 off 21 followed by Katherine Brunt for a duck.  4 runs were needed from 19 overs, Ecclestone finished it off in a style by hitting a four over midwicket. The captain stayed unbeaten at 53 off 72 which included 8 fours. 

Singh was the pick of the bowler for India for her 3 for 26. Jhulan Goswami, one of the greatest of the game with Beaumont’s wicket, became the first woman to take 250 ODI wickets. 

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