Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma script fantastic chase by India
Australia Women: 173-5 (20 overs)
India Women: 177-3 (19.4 overs)
Smriti Mandhana 55(48), Shafali Verma 49(28); Megan Schutt 1/26
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The Indian women's team pulled off a fine chase against the Australian women and earned their second win in the ongoing T20I tri-series. This takes them to the second position in the points table with four points but they also have played a game more than both Australia and England.
Needing 174 runs to win, India needed to get off to a good start in order to have a good chance to chase it down. Shafali Varma provided the explosive start that India needed, scoring 49 off just 28 balls. Smriti Mandhana supported her beautifully and scored a half-century herself.
Earlier, having been put in to bat, Australia got off to a horrible start as they lost Alyssa Healy in the very first over. However, Ashleigh Gardner and skipper Meg Lanning later consolidated the Australian innings. Gardner top-scored for Australia with a brilliant 93 off just 57 balls while Lanning added a quick 37. Ellyse Perry provided some late hits in the end to help Australia post 173-5 in their 20 overs.
Ashleigh Gardner puts Australia in strong position:
After having lost Allysa Healy in the very first over, Australia were on the back foot and the Indian bowlers had their tails up looking for another wicket. However, after absorbing the early pressure, Ashleigh Gardner started taking the game to India. Her exciting brand of counter-attacking cricket was difficult for India to handle.
She used her footwork brilliantly against the spinners and hit them all around the ground. She took a special liking to Shikha Pandey, smashing her for boundaries. After scoring a fantastic 93 runs which included 11 fours and three sixes, she was caught at mid-off on the bowling of Radha Yadav.
A hundred was there for the taking, but nevertheless, she had put Australia in a position to post a daunting first innings total.
Fantastic opening stand yet again for India:
174 on bigger grounds in Australia and against Australia's bowling attack was not an easy target to achieve. Getting off to a good start was a must and that is exactly what the opening pair of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana provided.
Verma began to play her natural game and started finding regular boundaries while Mandhana played the role of a second fiddle. None of the Australian bowlers were spared as Verma was rampant in her attacking approach. The duo added 85 runs for the first wicket and though Verma was caught in the deep, she had contributed a quickfire 49 off just 28 balls which included 8 fours and a towering six.
Mandhana, middle-order engineered a near-perfect chase:
After the fall of Verma's wicket, Jemimah Rodrigues walked out to bat and knew that India had the momentum and it was important for her to keep it going. She played a fine knock of 30 off just 19 balls, cleverly piercing the gaps and finding boundaries at regular intervals. Mandhana in the meanwhile kept one end ticking and reach her half-century.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and all-rounder Deepti Sharma remained unbeaten in the end as India chased down the target in the final over and pulled off a fantastic win by seven wickets.
Despite Australia losing the game, the fantastic innings of Ashleigh Gardner was recognized and she was awarded the player of the match. India have made a statement ahead of the T20 World Cup that they do possess the batting might to chase down any number of runs that are set for them.Published 08 Feb 2020, 11:54 IST