Prior to the tour of England, Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur had made it clear that her team wanted to make Jhulan Goswami’s farewell series memorable. On Wednesday, Kaur played a scintillating 111-ball knockout from 143 in the second ODI to anchor an 88-point win over the hosts and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-game streak.
India heads to Lord’s for Goswami’s final hurrah in hopes of taking their first bilateral ODI series win in 23 years with a clean sheet against a team that controlled them. “When you win the first game, the second game is always important and we always try to finish that as a winner. We only looked at that because we didn’t want to put any extra pressure on ourselves to go to Lord’s,’ Kaur said.
“The Lord’s game is very special to us because it’s Jhulan’s retirement and we wanted to enjoy that game without any pressure and I’m very happy that we were able to win today and now we can just have fun in that game.”
Kaur had made her India debut 13 years ago when Goswami was the captain. Goswami, 39, was named in India’s roster for this tour after missing out on the 50-over series in Sri Lanka last July. Goswami played in New Zealand’s 50-over World Cup in March but missed India’s final group game against South Africa with a side injury. She leaves the match as the highest wicket-taker in women’s internationals: 353 sacks in various formats so far. She started her international career as a 19-year-old in January 2002, playing 12 Tests, 68 T20Is and 203 ODIs. The veteran medium pacer holds the record for most wickets in ODIs with a total of 253.
The win in the series will be significant as it comes after another icon Mithali Raj, who had captained the ODI team since 2005, retired in June. If Kaur starred at The Spitfire Ground in St. Lawrence in Canterbury, it was her deputy Smirti Mandhana who did so in the first game. Her hit of 99 balls out of 91 was made with maturity and responsibility.
On Wednesday, India posted a massive 333/5, their second highest in women’s ODIs after 358/2 against Ireland in 2017. It is also the second highest score of any team against England in this format after Australia’s 356 /5 in this year’s World Cup final. The hosts were shot for 245 with pacer Renuka Singh who took 4/57 in 10 overs.
England lost their first three wickets within eight overs before Alice Capsey (39) and Danni Wyatt (65) forged a partnership of 55 runs. Charlotte Dean (37) was the last English batter to offer any resistance, but it wasn’t enough as they were thrown out within 45 overs.
India is only the second side to have won an ODI series in England in the past 15 years, after Australia, which won in 2015 and 2019. England have won at home in 17 of the 20 bilateral ODI series during this period.
“It’s a great win in the series and also a special one because it’s after the Mithali Raj era. Young players like Yastika Bhatia, Harleen Deol and Renuka come out on top at crucial moments. This will give them a lot of confidence.” , said former Indian medium pacer Amita Sharma (87 wickets in 117 ODIs).
However, this is an undercooked side of England that lacks top guns such as Katherine Brunt, Nat Sciver and Heather Knight. “The most important thing is that India responds to this. I will be thrilled when India’s bowling line-up is strengthened for the T20 World Cup,” said Sharma.