Ahmedabad: At the post-match interview, Indian skipper Jhulan Goswami bowed to Mithali Raj, the team's batting mainstay. She had every reason to do that. It was Mithali's unbeaten 51 that laid the foundation of India women's 15-run victory over West Indies in the third Twenty20 match and clinch the three-match series.
Jhulan won the toss, for the first time in the series, and decided to take on the relatively inexperienced West Indian bowling attack. Indian batswomen vindicated her decision as they put up 128 for five - the highest total in the series so far.
Mithali showed his customary grit and style after the openers Poonam Raut (15) and Amita Sharma (14), who added 21 in 2.4 overs, tore into Windies pace attack.
Mithali took control after the openers departed in quick succession and together with young Harman Preet Kaur (22) added 43 runs for the third wicket. Reema Malhotra finished the Indian innings in style when she hit two consecutive fours - one a reverse hit and another a flip over backward square-leg - to take India to a formidable total.
West Indies started their chase on a wrong note as their most reliable bat Juliana Nero got into a dreadful mix-up in the middle and was run out even before West Indies had opened their account.
Though Deandra Dottin kept West Indies in the hunt with her massive strikes, Indian tweakers Priyanka Roy and Soniya Dabir bowled a tight length to dry up runs in the middle overs. The duo shared five wickets between them and conceded just 27 runs in seven overs to push the visitor against the wall.
A late onslaught by Stacy-Ann King and Shanel Daley, who added 40 runs for the sixth wicket, was not enough for the girls from the Caribbeans who could manage 113 for nine in 20 overs.
Indian women were impressive in all the departments of the game, especially the fielding which stood out in the Sunday's triumph. "It's good to see young girls like Harman and Priyanka taking responsibility and dishing out match-winning performances," said a jubilant Goswami.
West Indian Stacy Ann King said the team was satisfied with the performance considering the fact that they started off as underdogs. "India are ranked higher and their players are more experienced but we are taking back bagful of positives from this tour," she said.
India Women 128 for 5 (Raj 51*, Campbelle 3-20)
West Indies Women 113 fpr 9 (King 37, Roy 3-17, Dabir 2-10)
Result India Eves won by 15 runs