India fell seven runs short in its 189-run chase in the fourth women’s T20I against Australia at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday, allowing the visitor to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
After the seasoned Ellyse Perry once again dominated the opponent bowlers with an unbeaten 72 off 42 deliveries to put up a mammoth 188 for three, India lost its top three batters - Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma and Jemimah Rodrigues - in the first seven overs, with just 49 runs on the board. Though both Smriti and Shafali started aggressively with a couple of boundaries, they failed to get going as Ashleigh Gardner and Darcie Brown put brakes on their innings.
Jemimah, who struggled in the last three games, once again lobbed a simple catch to Brown off an Alana King delivery as the home team reeled early in the innings.
At a time when crossing the 100-run mark looked like an uphill task, captain Harmanpreet Kaur (46, 30b, 6x4, 1x6) stepped up and forged a 72-run partnership with Devika Vaidya (32, 26b, 3x4) for the fourth wicket. With the target still far away, Harmanpreet started with singles as India managed only 77 for three in 10 overs.
But as the required run rate continued sky-rocketing, Harmanpreet hit two boundaries off Megan Schutt in the 12th over and followed it up with four fours in the next over, bowled by Heather Graham, who replaced Nicola Carey.
With Devika anchoring from one end, India needed 70 from 36 deliveries, and the fans still looked optimistic with Harmanpreet around.
But King soon broke the partnership with the scalp of the India captain. Harmanpreet went for another sweep but top-edged to offer a catch to Brown at short fine leg.
With the game slowly tilting Australia’s way, youngster Richa Ghosh, who has emerged as one of the fine finishers in the tournament so far, hit two fours off King’s bowling.
And even after Gardner dismissed Devika, Richa partnered with her Bengal team-mate Deepti Sharma to keep India in the hunt. Richa, known for her power-hitting, hit a couple of sixes and a boundary off King’s 19th over. India was left needing 20 from the last over. Deepti started off with a four, but Schutt took control of the game maintaining the right length and ensured that India was restricted to 181-5.
However, as a dejected Deepti and Richa walked back to the dugout, the fans gave them a standing ovation.
Earlier in the evening, Indian bowlers failed to hold on to the momentum despite Deepti removing Beth Mooney inside the fourth over. Though Australia captain Alyssa Healy looked aggressive with her 21-ball 30, she was retired hurt after straining her calf muscle.
To add to the woes, Radha Yadav cleaned up Tahila McGrath as Australia struggled at 46 for three in seven overs, before Perry and Gardner (42 off 27) took over with their assault to forge a 94-run stand.
The visiting side was 70 for three after ten overs, and not many expected it to bounce back, but with Perry at her fiery best, things slowly went Australia’s way. Pairing with Gardner, Perry helped Australia score 115 runs in the last nine overs to prop up the total. After Gardner’s exit, Perry made the most of India’s sloppy fielding and stitched another 48-run stand with Grace Harris at the end to put a mammoth score - something that was beyond India’s reach.
- VIDEO: I was a little a nervous on my comeback, says KL Rahul
- Danke Seb - Sebastian Vettel bids farewell to F1 after fabled career
- Indian sailing team headed to Newport USA for World Championships
- Arif Khan: From Valley to Beijing with hope and valour
- Covid-19: The state of women's tournaments across the world