It was a do or die encounter for India Women at Junction Oval in Melbourne on Saturday against Australia and the Women in Blue went into the match with lots of guts.
Batting first, Australia lost an early wicket in form of Alyssa Healy in just the third ball of the match. Batting at No. 3, Beth Mooney added 16 runs off 17 deliveries before Harleen Deol sent the batter back thanks to a catch by Smriti Mandhana in the ninth over. From the other end Ashleigh Gardner provided a sturdy support. Aussie skipper Meg Lanning played a cameo off 37 runs off 22 balls hitting six boundaries. Lanning’s blitz came to a halt in the 16th over when Mandhana took her second catch of the day off the bowling of Deepti Sharma. Soon, Ashleigh Gardner made her way back to the dug out but not before she had given Australian total a sense of respectability. Gardner having smashed 11 boundaries and three sixes made 93 off 57 balls. Ellyse Perry (13 off 10) was the last batter to be dismissed when Rajeshwari Gayakwad trapped her in front of the wickets on the penultimate delivery of the innings. Australia finished with a total of 173/5 in 20 overs. by off to a flying start with Gardner and Lanning adding 79 runs for the third wicket but after the wicket of Gardner India pull things back in the death over by restricting them to 174 runs in 20 overs.
In the chase, young sensation Shafali Verma set the stands ablaze scoring 49 runs from 28 balls hitting eight boundaries and one six. Verma’s innings came to an end in the ninth over when she was caught by Carey off the bowling of Perry. Smriti Mandhana was steady from the other end notching a fifty. Jemimah Rodrigues (30 off 19) was the second wicket to fall in Indian innings when she was caught behind by Healy off the bowling of Megan Schutt. At 122/2, India were in a position of strength. Carey trapped Mandhana LBW in the 19th over. Mandhana departed after making 55 off 48 balls hitting seven boundaries. Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur (20 off 20) and Sharma (11 off 4) in the middle when the winning runs were hit taking India to a memorable victory and stay alive in the tri-series.
Here are a few important stats from the 5th match of the tri-series:
177 – This is the highest total India chase down in the T20 match, going past the 168 they chase down against South Africa in Potchefstroom in 2018 and this is also the third-highest run chase in T20 International cricket.
13 – Harmanpreet Kaur has been unbeaten 13 times in successful run-chase for India from 40 innings in T20 International and she levels with Deandra Dottin.
175 – Highest Strike by an Indian Women opener while chasing a total against Australia in T20 International. Shafali Verma scored 49 runs from 28 balls including eight fours and one six.
55 – This is the first fifty by Smriti Mandhana against Australia in T20 International and overall with 11 fifty from 70 matches.
1600 – Smriti Mandhana completed 1600 runs in T20 International from 70 matches, she is third Indian to cross this landmark after Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur.