In a do or die match for India that was played on Saturday at Melbourne against Australia, the Women in Blue chased down a mammoth 174 in 20 overs to keep their hopes alive of making it to the finals of the tri-series.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl first, the Indians gave away far too many runs to the Aussies as the hosts put on a formidable 173-5 in 20 overs, riding on Ashleigh Gardner’s mellifluous 93. The Indian bowlers had no answers to the onslaught, as they were at the receiving end of some aggressive batting and powerful hitting. Offie Deepti Sharma, who opened the bowling picked up 2-27 and was the only bowler to concede less than seven runs in an over.
Chasing a mammoth total of 174 required a special batting performance from the Women in Blue, who looked low on confidence after their unsatisfactory batting effort on Friday against England. With the required run rate of 7.5, the Indians were expected to fire on all cylinders and go after the bowlers right from the word go. The openers did as the doctor prescribed and set the tone of the innings with an envious opening stand of 85 in just 8.2 overs. 16 year old Shafali Verma who was looking all good to score her third T20I half century in just 12 innings fell against the run of play as she was outdone by Ellyse Perry on 49. Mandhana (55) joined hands with another teenager Jemimah Rodrigues (30), who looked good during her short stay at the crease. Deepti Sharma (11 not out) and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (20 not out) saw India through as India chased down the target in 19.4 overs, winning the match by seven wickets. Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and Nicola Carey picked up one wicket apiece.
With just one match to go, the top two teams will face off in the finals on Wednesday. India will hope that the Aussies beat England to set up a final date with the hosts at Melbourne.
By Juilie Ballal
Juilie has represented Mumbai Women’s Cricket Team, she is also an IIT’ian