The hosts’ hopes were dashed by India at Edgbaston after Captain Sciver’s run turned the tide
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Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt lead Team England in cricket
England’s dreams of a first Commonwealth cricket final against Australia were ended by an upset defeat by India in the semi-finals.
Skipper Nat Sciver admitted she never considered the possibility that England wouldn’t be fighting for gold, but it was her run that eventually sparked that four-round loss at Edgbaston and dashed any hopes of a trio of England gold medals the women’s team competitions on Sunday.
India opener Smriti Mandhana laid the platform for India to turn their 20 overs into a 164-5 and England set out in pursuit as they needed the most successful chase in a women’s T20 international on those shores.
That seemed possible while Sciver was in, the all-rounder smashed 41 before picking up a second run just after ten runs from two deliveries, including a six, that never happened in the penultimate game.
And with the prospect of a bronze medal game next Sunday morning, the backup skipper – who has filled in for the injured Heather Knight – will have to change focus quickly.
She said: “Every defeat is hard to take, of course we wanted to be there in the fight for the gold medal and we didn’t think about not being there.
“It’s going to be tough but I’m sure we’ll check that out as soon as possible and then really be able to park it and go with the same freedom and attitude as we did tomorrow.
“I burned out. It’s such a small margin game, T20. We played back really well in the first innings and then didn’t quite get over the line when they pressured us. Very small margins but they came through .”
It was certainly a fine-margin game, with Mandhana’s brilliant 61 putting India on their way to an imposing goal after deciding to bat first.
The clean-hitting left-hander struck out eight fours and three sixes in her 32-ball knock and went after every bowler Sciver attempted.
She and Shafali Verma added 76 for the first wicket in just 7.5 overs before the 18-year-old with Mandhana dropped to 15 after an over later against Sciver.
From there, Jemima Rodrigues played the anchor role, making 44 from 31 as she smashed through, with her limit on the final delivery proving crucial.
England got off to a perfect start to the replay, with back-to-back boundaries to start the innings, the first from a no-ball.
Danni Wyatt (35) scored 100 as England chased 198 in Mumbai in 2018 and seemed on course to carry her back home before stepping over the wicket and watching in horror as her small batter crashed into the stumps and her left at 81-3.
Hometown girl Amy Jones (31) and Skipper Sciver rebuilt, kept the target within reach but fell in back-to-back overs, both running out. Both dismissals were due to miscalculations and England needed 14 from the final.
Katherine Brunt was caught by India captain Harmanpreet Kaur with three balls remaining, leaving England on the brink and Sophie Ecclestone’s sixes from the last delivery only served to narrow the lead on goal.
Next up is a bronze medal match on Sunday and coach Lisa Keightley stressed the importance of taking on that challenge.
She added: “It’s a bit different, at World Cups we’re used to being eliminated and you don’t have to play again. But there’s a lot to play for, getting a medal at the first Commonwealth Games and going home with something is, on the other hand, quite nice. I’m sure they will try to improve, to recover.”
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