Chasing masterclass gives Australia series lead

by   •  Published on
Chasing 283, Australia got home with 3.3 overs to spare
Chasing 283, Australia got home with 3.3 overs to spare © AFP

Fifties from Ellyse Perry (75 off 72), Tahlia McGrath (68* off 55) and Phoebe Litchfield (78 off 89) helped Australia pull off the second highest successful chase in women's ODIs and register a six-wicket win over India in the opening match in Mumbai.

Set a competitive target of 283 on a good batting surface at the Wankhede Stadium, Australia got home with 21 balls to spare. The trio's efforts overshadowed a fantastic performance earlier in the day from Jemimah Rodrigues (82 off 77) and Pooja Vastrakar (62* off 46) as the duo produced a stunning recovery for India who were 182/7 at one stage.

Opting to bat on a good batting surface, India's innings for a major part didn't get stability as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Many batters got starts and then fell to soft dismissals to give Australia the upper hand. Yastika Bhatia, opening the innings, gave the initial impetus to the innings along with Richa Ghosh who was elevated to number three. With India missing Smriti Mandhana due to illness, the batting order needed a rejig but the experiment didn't quite work out. If Richa fell to a leading edge, Yastika gifted her wicket to a full toss as the Aussies kept chipping away.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur didn't last long while Deepti and Amanjot became the latest batters to throw their starts away. During all this, Jemimah batted with surety at the other end, using her touch play to good effect. She used the pace of the quick bowlers to deflect the ball to all corners while it was her favourite sweep shot that countered the spinners. Despite just the seven boundaries in her knock, she managed to score at more than run-a-ball and it showed her impeccable strike rotation skills. However, it seemed like she would run out of partners with wickets falling at the other end. Until Pooja made her entry.

Both batters, evidently high on confidence after their recent Test exploits, looked in the partnership groove right away. While No.9 is arguably a few spots too low for the all-rounder, she took it as a challenge to up her game. There was intent from the get-go and while the odd moment of fortune also ensued, Pooja grew in confidence as the innings progressed. Jemimah was clearly tired in the sapping heat but fought on before ultimately holing out to long-off in the 47th over. By then, the score had breached 250 when it didn't seem like that total would be possible at one point. Pooja then used the long handled and peppered the boundaries to push the total past the 280-run mark.

For Australia, the chase didn't start off ideally as skipper Alyssa Healy fell in the very first over of the innings to a blinder from Sneh Rana at gully. It was the perfect start for the hosts but Perry and Litchfield quickly got into their work with a fabulous partnership. Perry was the aggressor and her intent allowed the junior partner to ease into her job. India's bowling lacked the consistency for longer periods and as a result, the pressure wasn't maintained on the batters. The fielding standards also dipped as the chase went on. Perry was at her typical best as she took on the bowling with nimble footwork and crisp strokeplay.

Litchfield had a scratchy start to her innings but three successive fours off Deepti Sharma in the 17th over got the southpaw going as she started to purr along. Perry fell to a tired stroke after having cramped on her left leg for a while but the platform was set for the rest of the batting line-up to finish the task. McGrath continued her form from the Test match, where she produced twin fifties, with another half-century. She got off the blocks quickly and although Litchfield fell soon after, the former found an able partner in Beth Mooney as the duo took Australia to the doorstep of victory. In the end, it was a canter for Australia as they went 1-0 up in the three-match series.

Brief scores: India 282/9 in 50 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 82, Pooja Vastrakar 62*, Georgia Wareham 2-55) lost to Australia 285/4 in 46.3 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 78, Ellyse Perry 75, Tahlia McGrath 68*; Renuka Singh 1-30) by six wickets




Move to top