At 70-0, chasing a low-ish 122, England were going along nicely at 70-0, two balls shy of the 10 over mark. Danni Wyatt, who had been happily playing second-fiddle to Sophia Dunkley, didn’t quite get everything on a pull down the ground and was caught in the deep. With the batters having crossed, Dunkley retained the strike with a single off the final ball of the 10th over to face Radha Yadav at the other end, with just a single required to add another international half-century to her trophy cabinet.
It should have been the moment to put the cherry on top of the cake, but instead Dunkley lost it completely – playing and missing at 6 dots from Radha, like a woman who’d totally forgotten how to bat. Alice Capsey jogged a single off her first ball to give Dunkley yet another chance to pass 50, but instead of just nurdling a straight delivery from Pooja Vastrakar into the off side, she tried to heave it over midwicket, missed it completely, and was about as comprehensively bowled as it is possible to be.
Dunkley was later named Player of the Series, having topped the run charts, but it was a series of performances that showcased her vulnerabilities as well as her talents – one minute she’ll be scoring all round the ground, the next she’ll look like someone who has accidentally wandered onto the field having taken a wrong turn on her way to the pub.
Amy Jones soon followed, playing down the District Line to a ball that took the Hammersmith & City, and England were suddenly in a bit of a hole – literally, a hole on the “Trend”.
Thank goodness then for Alice Capsey, who dug England out the hole and showed… yet again… why she is the most exciting young player we’ve seen since Sarah Taylor first emerged onto the scene 15 years ago at a similar age. Capsey ended with 38 not out off 24 balls – finishing the job for England for the second time in the series, after her 32 not out in the 1st T20 in Durham.
The assumption when Capsey was picked to debut in the T20 series against South Africa just two short months ago would surely have been that she would play the T20s, but give way for the ODI series; but how can England drop her now? Especially without Nat Sciver and Heather Knight (who sat quietly and surprisingly anonymously in the crowd this evening).
It would have been a much more straightforward chase for England if it hadn’t been for Pooja Vastrakar (19 off 11) and Richa Ghosh (32 off 22) battling away at the end. India had looked to be heading for a total south of 100 but Pooja and Richa put up some fight in the last 3 overs to get India past the 120 which is the bare minimum these days in this format.
First Ghosh turned Issy Wong’s pace against her in the 18th, hitting the speedster for 3 consecutive boundaries, before Sophie Ecclestone stepped in and presumably suggested that she try taking pace off, which Wong did for the last two deliveries of the over, conceding only two more singles in the process.
Then in the final over, it was Vastrakar’s turn to do some damage – hacking 15 off Freya Davies, who didn’t do a lot wrong, but still had to watch the ball disappear twice to the boundary.
With 122 on the board, India had a chance, and although it got quite cool by the end of the evening, it didn’t dew-up in the way it had done in Derby, so the gods weren’t totally on England’s side. But then… as we’ll probably find ourselves saying a few times in the next ten or fifteen years… who needs gods when you’ve got Alice Capsey.