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Cricket news - Cross stars in England's stunning jailbreak

Kate Cross conceded 1 run and picked two wickets in a thrilling last over, helping England win 3-0.

England clinched a one-run victory from the jaws of defeat in the third and final T20I in Guwahati on Saturday (March 9), overcoming a brisk half-century from skipper Smriti Mandhana to secure a 3-0 sweep in the three-match T20I series.

India's spinners did a good job after a half-century opening stand from England to restrict the visitors to 119 for 6. With Mandhana's half-century guiding India in the chase, the hosts appeared well on track for a consolation win. However, England pulled off a stunning comeback through Kate Cross, who helped her team to a narrow win when India needed only three in the final over.

India started well in the chase as Mandhana showcased her technical proficiency, unleashing pulls, cuts, clean strikes in the V and deft touches to find the ropes at regular intervals. Although she lost her opening partner Harleen Deol early in the innings, Mandhana ensured India did not lag behind in the first six overs and even made up for the slow outing of Jemima Rodrigues, who was eventually out leg-before to Linsey Smith for a 22-ball 11.

Concentrating on playing proper cricketing shots on a wicket that was on the slower side, Mandhana was able to manipulate the strike well and also cashed in on the loose deliveries as she registered her ninth T20I fifty to make up for her previous failures in the series. But she was too clever for her own good when she tried to run down a Laura Marsh delivery, only to chop it on to the stumps.

Deepti Sharma attempted a risky second and paid for it by getting run out for the second time in succession, and England also managed to sneak in a few quiet overs to put pressure on India. Raj scored two boundaries off Natalie Sciver in the 18th over and a four off Anya Shrubsole in the penultimate over. But the experienced batter couldn't get any strike in the final over as Cross bowled five dots on the trot and dismissed Bharati Fulmali and Anuja Patil off her fourth and fifth deliveries, while Shikha Pandey could only manage a single off the last delivery as England pulled off a jailbreak.

Earlier, opting to bat, England were off to a flying start thanks to Tammy Beaumont and Danielle Wyatt, who capitalised in the powerplay to score a flurry of boundaries. They added 51 for the opening wicket before Patil and Poonam Yadav picked up three wickets between them to lead India's fightback. Wyatt was the first to fall, slicing a wide delivery from Patil to third-man while Sciver was cleaned up by Yadav. With Beaumont departing a short while later, out stumped off Patil, England lost three wickets for only three runs.

Heather Knight and Amy Ellen Jones led a brief recovery through their 29-run association before England again lost their way - this time Deol and Ekta Bisht combined to pick up three wickets with the visitors managing only 20 runs. Reduced to 93 for 6 in the 17th over, Sophia Dunkley Brown and Shrubsole ensured that England at least played out their quota of 20 overs, with their undefeated 26-run stand giving their bowlers a fighting total.

Brief scores: England 119/6 in 20 overs (Tammy Beaumont 29; Anuja Patil 2-13, Harleen Deol 2-13) beat India 118/6 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 58, Mithali Raj 30*; Kate Cross 2-18) by 1 run.

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