Despite Smriti Mandhana’s brilliance, Australian women held their nerves to beat India by 11 runs in the finals of Tri-series played at Junction Oval, Melbourne on Wednesday.
Australian captain Meg Lanning won the toss and decided to bat first. Alyssa Healy got off to a good start with a boundary off the first ball and then was dismissed by Deepti Sharma. Beth Mooney struggled initially against Deepti Sharma. Ashleigh Gardner coming at number 3 looked in aggressive touch and made the batting look easy on a tough batting pitch. Rajeshwari Gayakwad dropped a simple catch off Beth Mooney. At the end of six overs, Australia were 35 for 1.
After the power play overs, Mooney and Gardner showed her class with good intent making the batting look easy. Arundhati Reddy provided the breakthrough dismissing the wicket of Gardner with a good catch by Gayakwad for 26. Gardner and Mooney added 52 runs for the 2nd wicket. Meg Lanning came to the crease and looked busy with positive stroke play. The Indian team missed a run-out chance to get the wicket of Mooney.
Lanning and Mooney attacked the Indian bowlers with aggressive stroke play adding 51 runs for the 3rd wicket. Gayakwad dismissed dangerous Ellyse Perry to stem the run flow. Annabel Sutherland was promoted and scored 7 off 6 balls. Mooney impressed with her stroke play reaching her fifty off 42 balls. Rachael Haynes and Mooney scored 19 runs off Rajeshwari Gayakwad in last over to help Australia post 155 for 6 in 20 overs. Mooney remained not out on 71.
Chasing 156 runs to win, Shafali Verma smashed a six and four off the first over from Ellyse Perry. Vlaeminck got the breakthrough dismissing dangerous Verma for 10. The debutant Richa Ghosh struggled to score runs which put pressure on Smriti Mandhana. Mandhana was dropped by Nicola Carey at 7. She took advantage of the chance and hit some lovely boundaries. At the end of six overs, India were 38 for 1.
After the power play overs, Richa Ghosh scored some lovely boundaries which released some pressure on Mandhana. Sutherland struck to dismiss Ghosh ending 43 runs stand for the 2nd wicket. Jemimah Rodrigues innings came to end as she was dismissed for just 2. Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur attacked the Australian bowlers with a flurry of boundaries that put Australian captain under pressure. Mandhana reached her fifty off 29 balls. With things looking control for India, Mandhana was brilliantly caught by Carey at the boundary which changed the momentum of the game. Kaur and Mandhana added 50 runs for the 4th wicket. The Indian team could not recover and lost 7 wickets for 29 runs. Australian women won the match by 11 runs.
Australian 155 for 6 in 20 overs (Beth Mooney 71*, Meg Lanning 26, Deepti Sharma 2/30, Gayakwad 2/32) beat India women 144 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 66, Jess Jonassen 5/12) by 11 runs.