India women’s cricket team started their World T20 preparations on an emphatic note as they registered a clinical five-wicket win over England in the T20 tri-series opener at Manuka Oval, Canberra. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur led from the front as she played a brilliant knock of unbeaten 42 following a fine bowling performance from the touring side on Friday.

Chasing a tricky total of 148 to win versus England, Harmanpreet took the run chase deep after the Indian top order, including the 16-year-old Shafali Verma (30), Smriti Mandhana(15) and Jemimah Rodrigues (26) – squandered good starts.

Veda Krishnamurthy (7) and Taniya Bhatia (11) also failed to stay on the crease as England bowlers struck at regular intervals.

With six needed off the last over, the 30-year-old Harmanpreet smashed a towering six to take India to 150 for five and end the match in style with three balls to spare. Her innings were studded with five boundaries and a maximum.

Earlier, Indian spinners — Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/19), Deepti Sharma (2/30)and left armer Radha Yadav (1/33) – restricted England to 147 for seven in stipulated 20 overs, while right-arm medium pacer Shikha Pandey (2/33) accounted for two at the Manuka Oval.

Put in to bat, England suffered a top-order batting collapse as openers Amy Jones (1) and Danni Wyatt (4) were dismissed cheaply. Natalie Sciver (20) and Fran Wilson (7) soon followed, leaving England reeling at 59/4 in 10 overs.

Skipper Heather Knight then took charge, hit a brisk hal-century to lift England’s total to a competitive score. Her knock of 67 came off 44 balls. Knight’s innings was laced with eight boundaries and two sixes.

Wicketkeeper Tammy Beaumont supported her captain with a 27-ball 37. The duo helped England post a fighting total.

Brief Scores:

England women: 147 for 7 in 20 overs (Heather Knight 67, Tammy Beaumont 37; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/19) lost by five wickets to India Women: 150 for 5 in 19.3 overs (Harmapreet Kaur 42 not out, Shafali Verma 30; Katherine Brunt 2/33)