Anjum Chopra too good for England
When the Indian women's team went to England in 1999 very few people rated their chances highly. The home side would have so much of an advantage, said crictics, that India may not be able to win even a single match.The batswomen in the Indian team would not be able to adapt to conditions where the ball swings and seams. Well, Anjum Chopra defied her critics and won acclaim from all those who saw the second One-Day International at Wantage Road, Manchester.
Having won the first match of the three match series thanks to an Anjum Chopra half century, India were keen to win the second match and close out the series. After winning the toss, Indian captain Chanderakantha Aheer (now Kaul) decided that it was best that India bat first. The decision seemed to backfire as opener Mithali Raj was dismissed for a duck with just 15 runs on the board. Anjum Chopra walked to the middle at one drop and vindicated her captain's decision.
Playing with characteristic felicity, Chopra put her head down and defied the English bowlers. Offspinner Clare Connor was in her element, troubling all the Indian batswomen, save Chopra. Accustomed to using her feet to the spinners, Chopra blunted whatever little turn there was in the wicket. Driving fluently, she managed to garner runs even as wickets fell around her.
It was only a 104 run partnership between Chopra and Anju Jain that helped prop up India. Even Jain, was not completely solid and survived a chance early in her innings to go on to make 54. The day however, did not belong to people making half centuries. Head and shoulders above everyone else was Anjum Chopra with exactly 100. Her innings came off just 128 balls, and she was at the crease till as late as the fifth ball of the 49th over. Chopra's innings was instrumental in India getting to their eventual 213/7. Her innings was punctuated by 13 hits to the fence. Justine Roberts, covering the match for the Daily Telegraph in England wrote, "Chopra hit a century off 127 balls, including 13 fours and many a classic shot, to give India victory in the match and the one-day series." Such was her dominance.
As it turned out, the target was too tough for England. All out for 127, the hosts lost the match by the convincing margin of 86 runs and India rejoiced. With the victory, India took an unassailable 2-0 lead. Although she was not the captain of the Indian team, it was indeed Anjum Chopra who led India to victory.
Indian Women in England, June-July 1999
England Women v India Women at Northampton. 9 July 1999
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