women's cricket

India's Smriti Mandhana in action during the third women's T20I match between India and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand on Feb. 10. (Surjeet Yadav/IANS photo)

GUWAHATI (IANS) — It was a forgettable captaincy debut for Smriti Mandhana as India’s women’s cricket team suffered a crushing 41-run defeat to England in the first T20 of the three-match series here March 4.

England posted 160/4 in 20 overs riding on fifties from Tammy Beaumont (62 off 57) and skipper Heather Knight (40 off 20). In reply, India struggled to 119/6 in 20 overs.

This is India's fifth loss in a row in the shortest format.

Mandhana, who became India's youngest T20 captain at 22, could only manage two runs as Deepti Sharma top-scored with an unbeaten 22.

It was an all-round bowling performance by England.

Earlier, openers Beaumont and Danielle Wyatt (35 off 34) set the tone with an 89-run partnership.

Skipper Knight was in full flow towards the end, smashing seven fours in her 20-ball cameo.

India lost their top three for just 23 and it was all downhill from there.

Senior player Mithali Raj (7 off 11) too could not deliver, while contributions from Veda Krishnamurthy (15), Arundhati Reddy (18) and Shikha Pandey (23 not out), besides Deepti Sharma (22 not out) did not help much.

"We gave away 10-15 extra runs at the end. Didn't have a great start with the bat as well. Really happy with the way Arundhati Reddy, Shikha Pandey and Deepti Sharma batted at the end," Mandhana said at the post-match presentation.

"That's a positive for us. Don't think anyone has gone back and seen the statistics. Every day we come out looking to win the match not thinking about what's happened in the past," she added.

England captain Knight was all praise for her teammates.

"Felt like we had a break in the last ODI where the girls showed great character to win the game. The ball was coming on nicely here. Tammy was going well at the other end. I was seeing the ball quite nicely. Delighted to contribute to the team win but the most important thing is the team performance," she said.

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