Women’s T20 World Cup – India beat Australia by 17 runs – Talking points

From Poonam Yadav and Deepti Sharma’s heroics to Australia's batting collapse, the opener of the Women’s T20 World Cup had it all.

A jubilant Indian side after beating Australia by 17 runs in its opening game of the Women's T20 World Cup Sydney.   -  Getty Images

India Women avenged their defeat at the hands of Australia in the final of the Tri-nation Series, with a 17-run win over the host in the ongoing Women's T20 World Cup.

Four-time champion Australia managed to restrict India to a modest 132. Deepti Sharma steadied the ship after the middle order failed to capitalise on a brisk start by openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma. Australia began confidently, with Alyssa Healy leading the charge but a batting collapse and a magical spell from Poonam Yadav ensured India got its campaign off to a winning start.

Here are the biggest talking points from the World Cup opener:

Report | Poonam Yadav spell gives India win in Women's T20 World Cup opener against Australia

A hit with the masses

If you found yourself doubting if this match was held in Sydney at multiple points of the game, you can’t be blamed. The game saw a turnout of 13,432 people – with Indian and Australian turning out in large numbers to cheer their teams on. This was the best ever for a standalone women’s cricket match in Australia.

Healy returns to form

With Alyssa Healy finding form after a string of poor scores ( 24 runs in six innings), Australia looked on course to complete a clinical chase. At one point, Healy had struck six fours and Australia needed 75 off 66 balls. Harmanpreet then introduced Yadav into the attack, in the ninth over. Unfazed, the keeper-batter clobbered the leggie for a six. But Yadav had Healy chipping a return catch with a slower leg break. She returned to collect two back-to-back wickets in her next over to tilt the balance in India’s favour.

Perfect Poonam

Yadav was unlucky to miss a hat-trick in this game. Had Taniya Bhatia, who had a brilliant game behind the wickets against Australia, held onto a faint edge off Jess Jonassen, this would have been a sweeter performance to savour. This is her third unlucky quest for a hat-trick, however the momentary heartbreak eased when she took another wicket in her next over to leave Australia stuttering at 82-6, a slump the host never recovered from.

Highlights | Women's T20 World Cup highlights: India beats defending champ Australia by 17 runs

Bowlers good, but batters?

India lost wickets in a heap after a runaway start of 40-0, courtesy a boundary blitz from 16-year-old Shafali Verma. Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma found themselves staring at the responsibility of anchoring a brittle batting performance. The duo stitched together a 53-run partnership to steady the Indian innings. Rodrigues barely found the boundaries, sticking to rotating the strike. The entire partnership featured just one boundary when Sharma slog swept Gardner in the 11th over. The last 16 overs of the Indian innings yielded just three boundaries, but Sharma kept the scoreboard ticking and helped India attain what turned out to be a par total on a slow wicket in Sydney.

The magic of a trump card

The Indian bowling was sloppy at the start, with loose deliveries, unnecessary reviews and shoddy fielding marring the beginning. But Poonam Yadav's spell, especially the first wicket of Healy, turned the tables on Australia. India had a trump card while batting as well; Deepti Sharma coming to the team's rescue with an unbeaten 49. Australia needed someone to put their hand up, especially after Healy's dismissal, but alas that wasn't to be.

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