West Indies women will have to wait till the second ODI on Sunday to give themselves a shot at securing the one win they need to earn a direct entry to the 2017 Women’s World Cup, after a forgettable first outing against India in Vijayawada. They slumped to 131 all out before India’s captain Mithali Raj and middle-order batsman Veda Krishnamurthy steered the hosts to a six-wicket win.
The pair put on an unbroken stand of 97 as India – who had slumped to 36 for 4 in the 17th over – chased down the target with 65 balls to spare. Raj faced 91 balls and hit six fours in her 46 not out, while Krishnamurthy brought up her fourth ODI fifty and was unbeaten on 52. The win was India’s seventh in 16 ICC Women’s World Championships matches and put them two points behind fifth-placed South Africa.
Four of West Indies’ top seven, including Deandra Dottin – one of their most experienced batsmen – were out for single-digit scores after they had elected to bat. Hayley Matthews (24) and captain Stafanie Taylor (19) put on 37 for the second wicket – the highest partnership of the innings – before left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht removed both of them and Kycia Knight, to leave West Indies precariously placed at 63 for 4. Merissa Aguilleira, the wicketkeeper, top-scored with 42 not out as she carried the batting almost single-handedly, with no batsmen after her getting into double figures thanks to a four-wicket haul by Rajeshwari Gayakwad, India’s other left-arm spinner.
West Indies lost their last four wickets for 16, three of those to Gayakwad, who finished with career-best figures of 4 for 21. Bisht, who bowled three maidens in her eight overs, finished with 3 for 14, while allrounder Shikha Pandey took the only other wicket that wasn’t a run-out, with her medium-pace.
India, experimenting with the new opening combination of Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma, were rattled early. The opening pair put on 15, and No. 3 Mona Meshram – playing her first ODI in over three years – made 2 off 14, before falling to medium-pacer Shakera Selman (2-11). Harmanpreet Kaur’s dismissal for 1 shortly after reduced India to 36 for 4, giving West Indies a glimmer of hope. However the experience of Raj prevailed in the end as she saw the side home in Krishnamurthy’s company. (ESPNcricinfo)