Sciver hits half a century of 24 balls and shares a dizzying position with Amy Jones, who shoots 43 before falling into an incredible catch by Harleen Deol; Rain spoils India’s chase with tourists caught at 54-3 in pursuit of 178 target
Natalie Sciver hit eight fours and one six, scoring at a strike rate of 203.70.
Nat Sciver scored the fastest T20 50 in England Women’s history to propel the hosts to an 18-run victory over India Women in the DLS method at the first Vitality Twenty20, in Northampton.
Sciver (55) raced to his 10th half-century in the 24-ball format, sharing a devastating 78-run, 42-ball showdown with Amy Jones as England stepped on the gas for 177-7.
It could have been more, but Jones’ blistering 43 were cut off at their best by a sensational long-time catch from Harleen Deol, who unloaded the ball as he crossed the boundary before plunging back into the game to complete a dazzling ejection. .
Still, India was left with the need to record their most successful pursuit in history and lost Shafali Verma by a second ball before rain ended the match prematurely at 54-3.
The result means Heather Knight’s team cannot lose the multi-format series having improved their points lead to 8-4 with just two T20s to come, on Sunday and Wednesday, live. Sky Sports Cricket.
Additionally, England have won all seven of their T20s at Northampton, having hit first each time.
This time around, they were placed after Harmanpreet Kaur won the draw. England starters Tammy Beaumont (18) and Danni Wyatt (31 of 28) piled on quickly from the start, but the tight Indian field ensured that the first limit fell short of 3.4 overs.
Three more followed on the remainder of the power play, England accelerating to 48-0 in six overs, only for Wyatt to fall behind trying to reverse Radha Yadav’s sweep eight runs later. Beaumont gave away his window shortly after, offering a 36mph delivery from Poonam Yadav to Smriti Mandhana for a long time.
Sciver, who made his first pitch through the point for four, opted to take the pacing tactic and advanced to lead Radha Yadav on additional coverage for a superb six.
India remained vigilant – Deepti Sharma fielded superbly with her own bowling alley to knock out Knight (six) – but struggled to contain Sciver, who hit Sneh Rana with two mighty four-in-one.
From 120-3 in 15 overs, Sciver broke loose by hitting Arundhati Reddy for three straight fours and with Jones reflecting on his clever use of the fold and powerful limit punch, the fifties position rose quickly with 28 balls.
It took an impressive catch to dislodge Sciver – Kaur lunged forward for a long time to give India much-needed respite.
If that was brilliant, Deol’s capture to evict Jones was outrageous. A third wicket in the end followed for Shikha Pandey (3-22) as Sophia Dunkley was stumped with her rear foot in the air trying to cut
Katherine Brunt (1-11) rocked the start of India’s chase by cutting the stump of Verma’s leg with the second ball of the inning as the starter tried to make room.
Smriti Mandhana (29 of 17) responded with aggression before pulling Sciver (1-16) to a deep square back and five balls later Kaur dink Sarah Glenn (1-6) to Sophie Ecclestone, leaving the tourists 47- 3.
India had time to add just seven more races before the rain intervened and with heavy rain the officials had no choice but to call the competition to a close.
Watch the second international T20 match between England and India live on Sky Sports Cricket starting at 2pm on Sunday.