Women's Cricket

India slump to six-wicket defeat against Australia in women’s tri-series opener

Harmanpreet Kaur’s team could not arrest its slide in the shortest format.

The Indian women’s cricket team can’t seem to reverse their losing run at the moment as the hosts lost the opener of the Twenty20 tri-series against Australia by six wickets in Mumbai on Thursday.

After losing all three matches fairly convincingly in the recently concluded ICC Women’s Championship one-day internationals, Harmanpreet Kaur’s team suffered the same fate in the shortest format as they were not able to defend 152.

Smriti Mandhana continued her good form but her half century was followed by a slew of quick dismissals that left the Indian batting effort short of a challenging score on a batting paradise at the Brabourne. Anuja Patil and Veda Krishnamurthy pushed the score past 150 but there was a feeling they were well short, given the firepower in the Aussie batting line up.

And it proved to be so. The Australians were again too good for India as they chased down the target of 153 with six wickets and 11 balls to spare. Opener Beth Mooney (45 off 32 balls) was the top-scorer for the visitors, with Elyse Villani (39 off 33 balls) and captain Meg Lanning (35* off 25 balls) starring in Australia’s chase.

Returning to the playing XI, Jhulan Goswami returned impressive figures of 3 for 30. Her two early wickets in her first two overs gave India a glimmer of hope but Mooney, Villani and Lanning made sure there were no further hiccups in the chase.

Earlier, India’s 152/5 was powered by Smriti Mandhana’s 41-ball-67, with Anuja Patil contributing 35 off 21 balls lower down the order. Mandhana looked in imperious form, as she carted the Aussie bowlers around in the powerplay. But she did not receive enough support from batters at the other end as Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues were dismissed for low scores.

‘When we play against a team like Australia, you need to set a challenging score. We were short. Smriti was fantastic, but other batters need to step up,’ said captain Kaur at the post-match.

Australia face England next on Friday, while India take on England on Sunday.

Brief scores:

India 152/5 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 67 off 41 balls, Anuja Patil 35 off 21 balls) lost to Australia 156/4 in 18.1 overs (Beth Mooney 45 off 32 balls, Meg Lanning 35* off 25 balls, Elyse Villani 39 off 33 balls) by 6 wickets.

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