|Third Twenty20 international, Guwahati:|
|England 119-6 (20 overs): Beaumont 29, Jones 26|
|India 118-6 (20 overs): Mandhana 58, Raj 30*, Cross 2-18|
|England won by one run|
Kate Cross bowled a magnificent final over to lead England to a thrilling one-run win over India in the third Twenty20 in Guwahati.
With India needing three to win, Cross bowled three dot balls, removed Bharati Fulmali and Anuja Patil, then conceded only one run from the final ball.
England earlier stuttered with the bat, but their 119-6 was enough for a 3-0 series whitewash.
They now go to Sri Lanka for three one-day internationals and three T20s.
Brilliant Cross holds her nerve
Before this series, medium-fast bowler Cross had not played a T20 international in four years, but was asked to pull England through when the game seemed to be gone.
With wicketkeeper Amy Jones up to the stumps, Cross’ control of line and length under extreme pressure was immaculate.
Fulmali, playing only her second game, was visibly nervous, surviving a stumping appeal before being caught at mid-off by Anya Shrubsole.
From the next delivery, Patil gave herself room, played and missed and was brilliantly stumped by Jones.
Shikha Pandey faced the final ball, but though she made sweet contact with a slash through the off side, Tammy Beaumont’s dive at point ensured only a single, sparking jubilant celebrations from the tourists.
On her final over, Cross told BBC Sport: “When you’ve got a low total to defend, you’re probably either going to be a hero pretty quickly or a villain pretty quickly.
“I knew I’d been hitting a hard length all game, that had been working quite successfully and thankfully we got it right. The pressure was back on the batsman as soon as I got those two dot balls in.
“Thankfully we kept Mithali off strike and that proved to be the difference. We practise those pressure situations and that’s where your training comes to fruition.”
Raj left stranded
India had earlier looked to be coasting the chase, especially when elegant captain Smriti Mandhana was moving to 58 from 39 balls.
She added 49 for the second wicket with Jemimah Rodrigues and 28 for the third with Mithali Raj, who looked to be guiding India even after Mandhana chopped on to her own stumps from the bowling of Laura Marsh.
Indeed, when Raj lofted Shrubsole over extra cover for four from the final ball of the 19th over, the game was as good as won.
Raj, however, did not face another delivery and was left stranded on 30.
England do enough, despite collapse
After winning the toss, England wasted a strong start with two collapses as India bowled 18 overs of spin.
Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont added 51 for the first wicket, but England slumped first to 54-3, then from 73-3 to 93-6. In all, the total slide was six wickets for 42 runs.
It was left to Sophia Dunkley, back in the side in place of the rested Katherine Brunt, to drag England through the final overs in the company of Shrubsole.
They took 27 from the final 20 balls of the innings, which, in the end, was just enough.
When your mum doesn’t know the result…
‘India will really, really hurt’ – the pundits’ view
Former Middlesex captain Isabelle Westbury on BBC Test Match Special: “India will really, really hurt for some time to come. They were in control for the majority of the match and should have won. Mithali Raj played an important role but she was let down by the inexperience of the side.”
Ex-India seamer Snehal Pradhan on TMS: “I’m going to put this down to the KSL [Kia Super League] and the WBBL [Women’s Big Bash League] – Kate Cross has played high-level T20 cricket, even when she’s not been playing internationals. India are shell-shocked – this is the moment we need to accept that India need a women’s IPL [Indian Premier League].”