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Women's T20 World Cup 2020: Poonam Yadav spins a web as India stun Australia in opener

Poonam Yadav picked up brilliant figures of 4-19 as India beat Australia by 17 runs
Poonam Yadav picked up brilliant figures of 4-19 as India beat Australia by 17 runs
ANALYST
Modified 21 Feb 2020
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Scorecard:

India: 132-4 (20 overs)

Deepti Sharma 49* (46), Shafali Verma 29 (15); Jess Jonassen 2/24

Australia: 115 all-out (19.5 overs)

Allysa Healy 51 (35), Ashleigh Gardner 34 (36); Poonam Yadav 4/19


For live scores and commentary click here.

India began their T20 World Cup campaign on a roaring note as they beat reigning champions Australia in their own den by 17 runs, thanks to some brilliant spin bowling from Poonam Yadav.

Chasing 133 runs to win, Australia lost Beth Mooney early but Alyssa Healy made sure that her team stayed on course. She took a special liking to Arundhati Reddy and hammered her for 15 runs off an over. Healy's 51 off just 36 balls was an entertaining innings, and it put Australia on course for victory.

But Yadav's introduction into the attack turned the game on its head. She first removed the set Healy and then quickly sent Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry packing. She also got rid of Jess Jonassen in the next over and ended up with fantastic figures of 4-19.

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Ashleigh Gardner tried her best to rescue Australia but India held their nerve in the end to bowl out Australia for just 115. Shikha Pandey also bowled well as she finished with figures of 3-14.

Earlier, the hosts put India in to bat with a view to restricting them to a low total. India got off to a flying start thanks to a quickfire 29 off 15 balls from opener Shafali Verma. However, they then lost Verma, Smriti Mandhana and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur in quick succession which stalled the run flow.

Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma then put on an important half-century stand to consolidate the Indian innings. Although Sharma remained unbeaten on 49, India didn't quite accelerate well enough in the end and finished with just 132 runs on the board in their 20 overs.

Shafali Verma's blazing start

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The Indian team was dependent on their openers Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana to provide a solid start and that is exactly what the two provided. Verma played her natural game and powered her way to 29 off just 15 balls. She took a special liking to Megan Schutt as she hit her for four boundaries in an over to get the score to 40-0 in just four overs.

Deepti Sharma's 49* gives India something to bowl at

India were 47-3 and in deep trouble, having lost both their set openers as well as the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, when Sharma came to the crease. She first strung an important partnership with Rodrigues, which helped steady the Indian ship.

After Rodrigues' dismissal, Sharma took the bull by the horns and began to up the scoring rate. She remained unbeaten on 49 at the end of the innings and scored three boundaries in the process.

Alyssa Healy strikes form with impressive fifty

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Healy was under pressure coming into the tournament, having endured a poor time in the tri-series and also in the warm-up games. But much to Australia's relief, she finally looked to be back in form as she helped the team get off to a good start.

Healy scored 51 off just 35 balls which included six fours and a brilliant six. She was able to break the shackles whenever India tried to squeeze the run flow, and that kept the scoreboard ticking.

Poonam Yadav spins a web around the Aussies

Healy was going strong and had just brought up her half century when Yadav was introduced into the attack. The leg-spinner was greeted with a six but managed to strike the very next ball as she caught Healy off her own bowling.

She then struck twin blows in the next over, first getting Rachael Haynes stumped and then cleaning up Ellyse Perry off the very next ball. She could have even completed her hat-trick if wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia had held on to the catch.

Nevertheless, Yadav got her wicket in her next over and this time Bhatia made no mistake. Yadav ended up with amazing figures of 4-19 in her 4 overs, which put India on the cusp of victory.

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Yadav's performance won her the player of the match award too, and this is what she had to say after the game:

My physio and my teammates supported me a lot during my injury phase. I bowled well against Australia here in the past so I wanted to continue that. This is the third time that I didn't get a hat-trick but I am thankful to my teammates as it is not easy to come back after an injury.  
Published 21 Feb 2020, 17:14 IST
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