|England 177-7 (20 overs): Sciver 55 (27), Jones 43 (27); Pandey 3-22|
|India 54-3 (8.4 overs): Mandhana 29 (17), Glenn 1-6|
|England (2pts) won by 18 runs (DLS method); lead multi-format series 8-4|
It was a match which had almost everything before rain cut it short: a world-class catch, dazzling batting and some brilliant bowling.
England beat India by 18 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method in an entertaining first Twenty20 international, to ensure they cannot be beaten in the multi-format series.
Nat Sciver (55) and Amy Jones (43) blazed England to 177-7, a total which was significantly cut short by wonderful fielding. India were 54-3 when heavy rain forced the players from the field 8.4 overs into the reply.
Here, BBC Sport rounds up the key moments of a brilliant, but curtailed, match.
‘A catch which will be watched all around the world’
India were noticeably tenacious in the field from ball one and it was a sign of things to come when Deepti Sharma removed Heather Knight with a superb run-out off her own bowling – the England captain short of her ground after driving back at the bowler, who launched it to the keeper to take the bails off.
But what came next was simply astonishing.
First, Sciver, who had struck the ball so cleanly and so hard throughout her innings, was caught by a diving Harmanpreet Kaur at long-on.
If that was good, though, the next big moment, courtesy of Harleen Deol, was sensational.
When a fluent Jones, who had cut and swept her way to 43 off 26 balls, heaved Shikha Pandey to wide long-off, it looked for all the world to be a six. Deol, however, had other ideas.
First the 23-year-old caught the ball as it was about to sail over the rope for six, then she threw it back into the air as she tumbled backwards, and finally she skipped back inside the playing area to take one of the best catches you will ever see.
Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, Southern Vipers player Emily Windsor said: “That is going to be watched all over the world, and over and over again.”
Sciver is sensationally good
OK, we knew that already – Sciver is, after all, rated the second best T20 all-rounder in world cricket behind New Zealand’s Sophie Devine.
Nonetheless, this innings was sensational. The 28-year-old held England’s innings together with a mixture of poise and power – epitomised by the way she took down poor Arundhati Reddy in the 16th over.
Sciver began with a delicate ramp over the wicketkeeper’s head for two, and followed it with three outrageous boundaries: a sumptuous cover drive sandwiched by two shots back down the ground which travelled to the rope at lightning speed.
Her 55 came off 27 balls and laid the foundation for a challenging target. It took something special from Kaur to finally remove Sciver.
“It was an awesome innings by Nat,” said England captain Knight. “She hit the ball so hard today, it seemed like she hit the ball even cleaner than usual.”
A word too for Jones, who toyed with India’s fielding – seemingly hitting the ball into spaces where the fielder had just been moved from.
Brunt relishes a battle
Shafali Verma is most certainly the next big star of women’s cricket.
She hits the ball hard and hits the ball far, and she has been locked in a must-watch, neither-gives-an-inch tussle with England’s main strike bowler Katherine Brunt throughout the tour.
It’s as if Brunt has taken it upon herself to take care of Verma, and she did her job here to perfection.
She delivered a fast and straight delivery and, with Verma backing away, the ball crashed into the stumps and sent the flashing bails high into the dusk sky.
England’s bowling depth
It was hard to take too much from England’s efforts in the field, but the options Knight has at her disposal are frighteningly good.
Brunt is quick, Sciver is canny and in spin twins Sophie Ecclestone and Sarah Glenn, there is no let-up for the opposition middle order.
England looked in complete control when the rain came.
The series moves to Hove on Sunday, a match which begins at 14:30 BST.
The hosts lead 8-4 on points with just four points left to be played for across two more T20s.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport