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Verma and Mandhana smash records to help India take first game of series

WI v Ind, 1st T20I, report

Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana put on India Women’s highest T20I partnership to set up an 84-run thrashing of West Indies in the first T20I in St. Lucia.

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West Indies’ troubles started before the toss, with captain and star player Stafanie Taylor ruled out by injury. Stand-in Anisa Mohammed got her first task spot on, winning the toss, but upon electing to field could only watch on as Verma and Mandhana supplied a fierce onslaught.

By the end of the fifth over the tourists had raced to 72/0, with 15-year-old Verma the aggressor, racing to 40 from just 15 balls. She took 26 runs off Chinelle Henry’s only over of the game, demonstrating just why she’s rated as one of the most exciting young cricketers in the world.

Shafali Verma played a statement knock
Shafali Verma played a statement knock

After that start, West Indies did well to pull their opponents back, since they looked on course to break all manner of records after their blistering beginning. Though it took until the 16th over to make the breakthrough – a number of drops didn’t help on this count – they conceded just 64 runs between overs five and 15.

Still, the damage had largely been done. India’s opening stand was their highest ever in the format, and a late burst from Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy took the tourists to the joint-highest T20I score against West Indies.

Radha Yadav claimed two wickets
Radha Yadav claimed two wickets

With a big total on the board and without stalwarts Taylor and Deandra Dottin, the hosts were up against it, and their task got tougher when Hayley Matthews fell to the ninth ball of the chase, and when Natasha McLean fell four balls later the result was all but confirmed.

India did well to keep up the pressure, with only Kaur, who bowled just one over, conceding more than a run a ball, and three bowlers claiming two wickets. West Indies seemed content to bat out their overs and regroup ahead of the second T20I, which takes place on Sunday 10 November at the same venue.

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