Women’s World Cup – India quick Renuka Singh sticks to her strengths to create a stir against England
But then, just like those catchy tunes that get stuck in your head and refuse to leave, England persisted, refusing to fall behind, raising their own tempo to set a competitive target. Their spinners were able to defend it with some tight bowling through the middle overs, negating Renuka’s career-best effort and bringing a semi-finals berth one step closer.
India were full of energy and near-flawless in the field during the powerplay as England were reduced to 37 for 3, the only error coming when Shafali Verma failed to stop a boundary as Heather Knight advanced to Deepti Sharma and clipped through mid-on.
Jones struck a glorious six off Pooja Vastrakar, which bounced off the first-tier balcony’s edge and on top of the fence beyond deep midwicket and, next over, hit back-to-back fours of Radha Yadav through fine leg and over cover as England helped themselves to 25 off two overs. Ecclestone picked out the same area as Jones’ maximum to dispatch Deepti for a 69-metre six of her own before Jones followed up with another slightly wider moments later.
Renuka Singh picks up two wickets in final over
Renuka wasn’t done, though. Brought on for the last over of the innings, Renuka had Jones caught behind before Katherine Sciver-Brunt holed out to long-on, to seal her first international five-wicket haul.
“Everyone wants me to enjoy myself, and that’s when I perform well too,” Renuka said after the game. “My nature is such that I smile and perform and it gives me confidence. The pitch was pretty good for pace bowling so maybe we conceded 10-15 runs extra. Things were in our favour but we knew it would be a competitive game against England.”
It was the first meeting between the sides since the third ODI at Lord’s in September, where Renuka was Player of the Match for her four wickets, which resulted in a 3-0 series sweep for India, but is better remembered for Deepti running out Charlie Dean at the non-striker’s end.
Sophie Ecclestone: Sarah Glenn ‘held her nerve so well’
Left-arm spinner Ecclestone was full of praise for Glenn. “She held her nerve so well against some of the best batters in the world and she really backs herself now in this environment and it’s great to see her excel like she did and getting Smriti’s wicket,” Ecclestone said. “I know it means a lot to her.
“I also do a bit of work on Smriti. I think bowling to her in the powerplay is the hardest thing. She’s obviously a great batter, I just need to be trying to be one step ahead of her and just contain her as much as I can.”
She also had good things to say about the young Indian stars. “She knows her game really well,” Ecclestone said of Renuka. “She bowled really well with the new ball and I think that was something that batters will look at in case we come up against India again. She used her slower balls really well… she deserves her wickets.
“I met Richa about three or four years ago playing for Trailblazers in Dubai and I thought she was amazing then. I said to her after the game today, ‘you’re an amazing player, keep your head up’, but she’s still so young and she’s going to be an annoying player for me to bowl at when she gets a bit older and when we keep playing her. She’s got a big future ahead.”
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo