Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues lead Indian eves to series win

Back with a bang
Smriti Mandhana celebrated her return to the Indian team by smashing a 63-ball 74. File photo: AFP

North Sound (Antigua): Comeback-girl Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues hit contrasting half-centuries to lead the Indian women's team to a 2-1 series victory over the West Indies with a comfortable six-wicket win in the deciding third One-Day International (ODI), here on Wednesday.

Mandhana, who missed the first two matches of the series due to a toe injury, smashed a 63-ball 74 and raised a match-winning 141-run partnership with fellow opener Rodrigues (69 off 92).

A solid foundation in place, India cruised to the 195-run target in 42.1 overs after the bowlers did a commendable job bowling out the hosts for a sub-par 194 in exactly 50 overs.

During the course of her innings, Mandhana became the fastest Indian woman to score 2,000 runs in ODIs. The 23-year-old reached the milestone in her 51st innings.

Seasoned pacer Jhulan Goswami (2/30) and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (2/35) shared four wickets between them, troubling the rival middle order after the West Indies elected to bat.

It was pacer Shikha Pandey and leg-spinner Rajeshwari Gaekwad, who removed the top-order as five of the six Indian bowlers in action, were among wickets.

Stafanie Taylor kept fighting for the hosts with a combative 79-run knock, but ran short of partners as other West Indies batters struggled to negotiate India's attack.

Apart from Taylor only Atacy-Ann King showed some stomach for fight with a 45-ball 38.

Left-handed Mandhana was her usual aggressive self, punishing the West Indies bowlers with nine hits to the fence and three over the ropes.

It was her first ODI since the home series against England in February and third half-century in a row.

Rodrigues, who had scored 41 in India's defeat in the opening ODI, took 92 balls for her 69-run knock which had six boundaries.

The two teams will now play a five-match Twenty20 series, beginning Sunday at Gros Islet.

Brief scores: West Indies: 194 all out in 50 overs (Stafanie Taylor 79, Stacy Ann King 38; Jhulan Goswami 2/30) lost to India 195/4 in 42.1 overs (Smriti Mandhana 77, Jemimah Rodrigues 69; Hayley Mathews 3/27).

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