It was carnage.
Grace Harris (64 not out, 35b, 6x4, 4x6) and Ashleigh Gardner (66 not out, 32b, 11x4, 1x6) ruthlessly destroyed the Indian bowling attack to set up a 54-run win for Australia in the final T20I at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday night. Australia thus made it 4-1 in the series.
It was an astonishing display of brutal hitting that you would not find often in women’s cricket. That took Australia to 196 for four.
India, which lost Smriti Mandhana to the fourth ball, never really threatened to chase down that score. Only Deepti Sharma went past 25 and was the last to get out 53 (34b, 8x4, 1x6). India was bowled out for 142 off the final ball as Heather Graham (4/8) demolished the Indian batting unit with a hat-trick.
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Earlier, many of Harris’ sixes cleared the ropes by some distance – like the one she smashed over deep midwicket off a full toss, from outside the off stump, by Renuka Singh. And this was from a bowler who had bowled a maiden earlier on. It was as if Harris and Gardner had turned the Indian bowlers from being somewhat dominant to absolutely clueless in the blink of an eye.
Australia could make only 42 for two in the PowerPlay. Beth Mooney played on to Anjali Sarvani, the left-arm seamer who has made an impression in her debut series, that too on batting beauties.
Phoebe Litchfield, who straight-drove gorgeously the second ball she faced in international cricket – from Renuka – was stumped by Richa Ghosh off the clever off-spin from Deepti. Then Tahlia McGrath, captaining the side in the absence of the injured Alyssa Healy, fell in a similar fashion, to Shafali Verma.
When the in-form Elysse Perry holed out to long-on off Devika Vaidya, Australia slid to 67 for four. Just 10.2 overs had remained at that stage. That was more than what Harris and Gardner needed to bat India out of the game, as they added 129 for the unbroken fifth wicket, off just 62 balls.
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