The Indian team displayed brilliance in the field resulting in four crucial run-outs combined with consistency in the bowling department to clinch the second T20I by 8 runs post a cliffhanger against England at the County Ground in Hove. The young Shafali Verma's 38-ball 48 was equally crucial in helping India set up the win.
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The stage was set for a classic showdown as England and India locked horns in one of the most significant encounters in this series. With the series played in a multi-format point system, England stepped onto the field with an 8-4 lead aiming to seal the series.
Defending a fighting total of 149 runs to save the series, Arundhati Reddy provided the team with the crucial wicket of Danielle Wyatt on the last ball of the second over with 13-runs on the board. An over later, Natalie Sciver, too, was undone by a smart run-out by Richa Ghosh, resulting in the home team struggling at 31 for the loss of two wickets.
Despite the stutter, England were well on course in the run chase primarily due to a 75-run stand for the third wicket between Tammy Beaumont and Heather Knight. Beaumont was more dominant amongst the two and notched up a crucial half-century (59) at the top of the order.
However, the turning point of the match was in the 14th over of the innings as England lost Beaumont and Knight off Deepti Sharma's successive deliveries.
While the opener was adjudged plumb in front of the stumps, Knight was dismissed in an unfortunate fashion as a straight drive from Amy Jones ricocheted off Deepti's shoes to hit the stumps with the England skipper inches short of the crease.
With an inexperienced middle order and the pressure of the run-chase, the home team lost a cluster of wickets in the back end of the innings and eventually fell short by 8 runs. Off spinner Deepti Sharma was clinical with the ball and finished with figures of 1/18 in her four-over spell.
Earlier in the day, Indian openers Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana started the innings in a commanding fashion after Heather Knight won the toss and elected to field first.
The 17-year old Verma displayed stroke-play of the highest calibre as she smashed Katherine Brunt for five consecutive boundaries in the fourth over.
The duo stitched a crucial 70-run partnership before the southpaw in her bid to accelerate the scoring rate was dismissed for 20 runs by Fraya Davis.
One of the turning points in the Indian batting innings was the dismissal of their well-set openers in the space of two deliveries as Verma was caught in the deep two short of a well-deserved half-century.
Despite a solid foundation laid by the opening combination, the Indian team struggled to capitalise on the foundation set by the openers.
Harmanpreet Kaur striding out in the middle at number three, played a crucial knock of 31 runs and forged a vital stand of 40 runs with Deepti (24*) to help the team post a fighting score of 148 runs for the loss of four wickets in the 20 overs.
With the series on the line, the two teams will compete in the final T20I on Wednesday in a day-and-night fixture at Chelmsford.