India had the last laugh in the final ODI of the multi-format series as an unbeaten captain's knock from Mithali Raj guided the visitors to a four-wicket victory at Worcester.
Winning the toss, the India skipper opted to field first at New Road. Some showers led to a delayed start before the contest was reduced to 47-overs per side. In conditions assisting the seamers, Shikha Pandey (1/42) got the visitors off to a perfect start, trapping Tammy Beaumont in front for a duck.
Lauren Winfield-Hill (36) and Heather Knight (46) then steadied the ship for England with a 67-run partnership, before Sneh Rana snared her only wicket of the match taking down Winfield-Hill for 36. Knight would be the next one to walk, missing out on her half-century thanks to Harmanpreet Kaur (1/24). Knight however brought up 3000 runs in ODI cricket, becoming only the fourth English woman to do so.
England kept losing wickets at regular intervals, failing to build any sort of momentum with the bat. Nat Sciver would top score with 49, but didn't get much support from the other end before her eventual dismissal in the 38th over. Sophia Dunkley (28) also played a handy knock, with England posting a total of 219 all out after a late innings collapse.
It was a collective bowling effort from the Indian unit, with Deepti Sharma the pick of the lot with figures of 3/47 from her 10 overs.
In reply, India got off to a steady start with openers Shafali Verma (19) and Smriti Mandhana (49) sharing a 46-run stand. Verma, who struck three boundaries and made a 29-ball 19, was the first to fall courtesy of Kate Cross (1/38).
In at No.3, Jemimah Rodrigues (4) combined with Mandhana for a 20-run partnership, before falling prey to Sophie Ecclestone's (2/36) smart bowling in the 16th over.
With wickets beginning to fall from one end, Mandhana kept her cool at the crease but became the second player in the match to fall just one run short of a half-century. Sarah Glenn (1/26) snared the prized scalp of the India opener, who hit eight fours during her 57-ball innings.
Suddenly, the onus was on captain Raj (75*) and Kaur (16) to get India back on track for a 220 target. They stitched an important 50-run partnership, with one of them adding another feather to her cap.
Raj went past England's Charlotte Edwards to become the all-time leading run-scorer across all international women’s cricket.
Soon after, England skipper Heather Knight claimed her 50th ODI wicket, trapping Kaur in front for 16, which brought Deepti Sharma (18) out to the middle.
Raj and Sharma produced 33 runs together before Sciver (1/34) caught and bowled the latter. In came Rana (24), who toiled away with Raj to position India with six runs to win off the last over.
With last use of the ball, Katherine Brunt (0/45) was given the responsibility to lead her side to a dramatic triumph at the death except a calm and collected Mithali Raj stood in England's way. On Brunt's third delivery, Raj slashed the ball away to point to earn India a gutsy win.
The two sides will meet again on Friday at Northampton in the first of three T20Is to round out the multi-format series.
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