Mandhana, Harmanpreet help India A take 1-0 lead

After suffering a 0-3 defeat in the One-day series last week, the national selectors decided to field a full-strength team for the T20 series, keeping next month’s World T20 in mind.

Smriti Mandhana made a match-winning half-century. (File Photo)   -  AP

Smriti Mandhana played a classy knock of 72 off 40 deliveries to help India A get the better of Australia A by four wickets in the first T20 fixture at the Bandra Kurla Complex on Monday.

Chasing a target of 161, India lost two quick wickets in Jemimah Rodrigues and Taniya Bhatia for just four runs.

But then, Mandhana stitched a 116-run partnership with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur to ensure that there was no further slip-up.

Harmanpreet scored 45 off 39 balls before being caught by Heather Graham off Amanda Jade Wellington.

Even after Mandhana and Harmanpreet’s exit, India lost a couple of quick wickets, but Pooja Vastrakar remained unbeaten on 21 along with Deepti (not out on 11) to guide the team home.

Earlier, Australia A scored 160-6 in 20 overs, with Heather Graham scoring 43 and Naomi Stalenberg playing a knock of 39.

For India A, Deepti and Anuja Patil scalped two wickets apiece.

After suffering a 0-3 defeat in the One-day series last week, the national selectors decided to field a full-strength team for the T20 series, keeping next month’s World T20 in mind.

And the team will be happy with the way it started off its preparations. With two more games to go in the series, India A will be hoping to fix the weak links before travelling to the Caribbean.

Brief scores

Australia A 160-6 in 20 overs (Heather Graham 43, Naomi Stalenberg 39; Deepti 2-30, Anuja Patil 2-22) lost to India A 163-6 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 72, Harmanpreet Kaur 45; Lauren Cheatle 2-18, Amanda Jade Wellington 2-34)