Opener Beth Mooney’s dominating unbeaten knock (89 not out off 57) powered Australia Women to a convincing nine-wicket victory over India Women in the first T20I and 1-0 lead in the five-match series at D.Y. Patil Stadium, here on Friday.
The win meant Australia are yet to lose a match this year in any format of the game. In T20Is, this was their ninth win in 12 matches, with three games producing no result.
Brilliant quickfire knocks by Deepti Sharma (36 not out off 15) and Richa Ghosh (36 off 20) propelled India Women to 172/5 in 20 overs. Apart from Deepti and Richa, the likes of Shafali Verma (21 off 10), Smriti Mandhana (28 off 22), and Harmanpreet Kaur (21 off 23) got decent starts but couldn’t convert to big innings.
Chasing a challenging total, Mooney was a bit watchful early but Healy was aggressive in her intent. Mooney overtook her skipper with a hat-trick of boundaries off Renuka Singh in the fifth over. Eventually, Australia finished the Powerplay at 47/0.
Healy took on the spinners, scoring sixes off Devika Vaidya and Radha Yadav before getting out to Vaidya in the ninth over. Radha put down a tough chance to give McGrath a reprieve in the 10th over as Australia ended the halfway stage at 81/1.
Both Mooney and McGrath scored boundaries at a regular rate, with the former bringing up a 43-ball fifty in the 14th over. The equation was 37 off the last five overs, which came down to 26 off the last four, with Mooney scoring a four off Renuka Singh in an 11-run over.
McGrath (40 not out off 29) then struck a six and a four off Meghna Singh while Mooney hit two fours in the same over as the 17th yielded 19 runs, taking Australia closer to the target. A couple for McGrath took Australia over the line on the first ball of the 19th over with nine wickets in hand. Mooney and McGrath shared an unbroken 100-run standoff 56 balls for the second wicket.
Earlier, put into bat first, Shafali Verma smacked 21 runs off 10 balls to give India a flying start before falling to Elysse Perry in the third over. After Shafali’s wicket, Smriti Mandhana continued the charge and hit a few boundaries to continue the momentum.
But, Perry struck again with the wicket of Jemimah Rodrigues (0), leaving India at 45/2 in 4.5 overs. The Aussies managed to keep a lid on the rate between overs 6-12 and also took the wickets of Smriti and Harmanpreet during that period.
India were four down for 76 in the 12th over, when Richa Ghosh walked out to bat and changed the complexion of the game. She stitched a quickfire half-century partnership with Devika Vaidya (25 not out), which got India going.
Richa got out in the 17th over but she had set the tone for Deepti Sharma, who came out all guns blazing. Deepti smashed four fours in a row in the last over to take India to a score of 172/5 in 20 overs.
Brief scores: India Women Innings 172/5 in 20 overs (Deepti Sharma 36 not out, Richa Ghosh 36; Ellyse Perry 2-10) lost to Australia Women 173/1 in 18.1 overs (Beth Mooney 89 not out, Tahlia McGrath 40 not out; Devika Vaidya 1-33) by 9 wickets.