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The Hindu
The Hindu
Amol Karhadkar

IND vs AUS | Bowlers, Healy and Mooney help Aussies have the last laugh

Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma started the evening on a promising note. Pooja Vastrakar gave more than enough reason to cheer towards the end of the game for the 43,500-plus fans who thronged the D.Y. Patil Stadium on a weekday.

Still, neither the fans nor India’s women could have the last laugh as Australia yet again showcased its immense ability to strangle the opposition. Riding on an all-round bowling effort, Australia restricted India to 147 for six. And Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney’s opening partnership took the fizz out of India’s attack.

Australia eventually romped home with eight balls and seven wickets to spare to win the third T20I and clinch the series 2-1 to end its tour to India on a happy note.

Beth Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield of Australia after winning the 3rd T20I against India. (Source: EMMANUAL YOGINI)

For India, defeating Australia in a bilateral T20I series remained an unfulfilled dream, with Australia stamping its authority in all the departments of the game.

When Pooja accounted for Tahlia McGrath (caught at mid-off) and Ellyse Perry (lbw off an incoming delivery) off successive balls in the 16th over, India hoped to stretch the game deep. But Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield helped Australia cross the line without any fuss.

While Australia recovered quickly after the stutter, India could not do so earlier in the night, which perhaps turned out to be the difference between the teams. Shafali and Smriti got India off the blocks quickly, having raced to 32 in the first four overs.

While Shafali’s edge was smartly pouched by Healy off Megan Schutt, Smriti was looking good for a big score.

Soon after the PowerPlay, Australia made a move as India lost three wickets for six runs in 12 balls. Jemimah Rodrigues (perished to a short-ball ploy), Smriti (caught on the sweep in the deep) and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (played a slower one onto the stumps) succumbed to the pressure deployed by Australia’s bowlers and fielders.

Despite Richa Ghosh wielding the long handle and Pooja and Amanjot Kaur’s cameos at the death, India failed to cross the 150-run mark. A total of 146 was unlikely to ask any questions of an on-song Australia.

That’s precisely what happened, with Mooney completing her fifty with a crisp square drive which was also the winning hit.

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