The Indian women's cricket team appears to be following the fortunes of the men's team in South Africa with some successful exploits of their own. The eves XI beat their West Indies counterparts 3-2 in a five-match one-day home series.
India didn't have a good start to the series, going down by 9 wickets at Mumbai. The hosts innings got off to a decent enough start with 45 for the first wicket before crumbling to 85/4 in 28 overs. The middle order couldn't post much of a revival as the team were bowled out for 161 in 49.3 overs with opener Poonam Raut the top-scorer with 33 and Windies' off-break Anisa Mohammad, taking 4/27.
In reply, the West Indies got off to a solid start, losing just 1 wicket for 25 in the 7th over. Then, the surviving opener Stephanie Taylor and one-down batswoman Shanel Daley surged ahead before the former reached her half century. The Indian bowlers were rendered hapless in the face of some defiant batting which took the Windies home by 9 wickets with Taylor not out on 85 and Daley, unbeaten on 44.
India launched a strong riposte in the second match at Vadodara. However, their batting woes continued with the team only able to notch up 134 all out in 41.2 overs with Harmanpreet Kaur making the highest individual score of 26. They apparently had no answers to the Windies pace attack with medium pacers Tremayne Smartt and Shemaine Campbelle taking 2 wickets each and the off-spinners Anisa Mohammad and Stephanie Taylor, pitching in with the same number of scalps.
The West Indies reply wasn't good this time around, as soem sharp bowling from the seamers pegged the visitors back to 60/6 in 17 overs. It was a slump from which the Windies couldn't quite recover, getting bowled out 10 runs shy of India's total as the slow left arm of Gouher Sultana ensnared three prize Windies' wickets. The hosts had levelled the series at 1-1.
At the same venue, the Windies eves went one-up on the Indians. Batting first for the third consecutive time, India only managed to make 156 all out in 48.2 overs and that too mainly because of some feisty lower-order batting from Amita Sharam who top-scored with a quick-fire 35. The usual suspects - Stephanie Taylor and Anisa Mohammed along with Shemaine Daley, picked up 2 wickets each.
The Windies got off to a steady and relatively quick start, with openers Taylor and Nero putting on 45 in 10.5 overs. But then the visitors had a slight top order collapse, slipping to 98/4 in 32 overs as only Taylor stood her ground with 46. However, the latter order all chipped in and took their side home by 3 wickets with four balls remaining. The Windies were leading the series 2-1.
In the fourth match at Rajkot, India were under pressure to up their game and the batswomen delivered. After Poonam Raut and Neha Tanwar got India off to a slow but steady start, Mitali Tanwar joined forces with Raut to put on a 108-run stand for the second wicket. After Raut went, Raj retained most of the strike and reached a fantastic century, taking India to 216/4 and remaining not out at 109 off 106 balls.
The West Indies innings was given the perfect start by their openers Taylor (83) and Nero (42), who put on 127 in 32.1 overs for the first wicket. But then the Windies eves underwent a middle order collapse, slumping to 177/7 in 46.4 overs. Even some power-hitting from Shemaine Campbelle, who made 23 off 12 with 3 fours and a six, couldn't get the visitors home as they folded 10 runs short of India's total. India had again drawn level in the series. Off-break Diana David had taken three wickets, while her team-mates Gouher Sultana and Priyanka Roy pitched in with 2 a piece.
In the final at Rajkot, India were batting first for the 5th straight time. But they hadn't seemed to have learned much from their previous outings with the bat, as they slipped to 51/4 in 18.4 overs. Then some gutsy play from the latter order saved the day for the hosts as they ended up on 188 with top-scorer Amita Sharma making an unbetan 47 off 58 balls. Treymayen Smarrt was the top wicket-taker with 2/27 from her 8 overs.
The Windies innings had an equally disastrous start as the Indian bowlers reduced them to 60/4 in 21.1 overs. Shemaine Daley tried to hold things together and went on to make 63, but the rest of the order offered little resistance as the side was bowled out for 131 in 45.4 overs. The female spinners did much of the damage with Priyanka Roy claiming 3 wickets and Gouher Sultana coming away with 2. Thus India had won the closely-fought series 3-2.