Indian women stun Australia with record chase

India lost skipper Mithali Raj early, chasing 142, but Harmanpreet Kaur steadied the ship with a 31-ball 46 and steered the team to a win in 18.4 overs.

Harmanpreet Kaur steered India to a victory after skipper Mithali Raj's dismissal. (File photo)   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

The Indian women’s cricket team produced a superb all-round performance to chase down a record total and upstage world champions Australia by five wickets in the opening Twenty20 International of a three-match series here today.

Electing to bowl after winning the toss, the Indians did well to restrict Australia to 141, before romping home in 18.4 overs.

In the process, the Indian women managed to chase down the highest target against Australia, who were the favourites.

The decision to put the hosts in after winning the toss worked for Indian captain Mithali Raj when the home side were reduced to 17 for 2.

However, debutant opener Beth Mooney’s run-a-ball 36 followed by an unbeaten 41 by Alyssa Healy lower down the order helped Australia post 140 for 5.

The Aussies were in a spot of bother before Healy’s 15-ball blitzkrieg, which included five fours and a couple of sixes.

For India, leg-spinner Poonam Yadav was the top wicket-taker, scalping two for 26 in her 4 overs. Veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey and Anuka Patil also picked up a wicket each in a consistently tight bowling performance.

In reply, the Indians were not off to the best of starts as skipper Mithali Raj (4), who opened the innings, was dismissed early.

However, the rest of the top-order batswomen did their job well enough with Player-of-the-Match Harmanpreet Kaur standing out with a 31-ball 46.