Smriti Mandhana’s career-best 83 helped India to a 48-run win over Australia in Guayana on Saturday, and ensured they top Group B heading into the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World T20. Mandhana was given company by a breezy knock from Harmanpreet Kaur, one that saw the tournament’s 50th six hit.
The win snapped Australia’s 12-match winning streak in the format, and gave India only their fourth win in 15 meetings between the two sides.
Mandhana put the Australia attack under pressure for the first time in the tournament, taking India almost single-handedly to a strong Powerplay score of 46 for one, of which she scored 37 off 22. After looking scratchy in the tournament, Mandhana looked in so such problems against the favourites, mixing drives along the ground with sixes in the ‘V’.
She was joined by Harmanpreet Kaur when India were 49 for two in the seventh over, and the pair put on a symphony of stroke-play. Mandhana briefly ceded the stage to Harmanpreet, who took her chances against the spinners to hit three sixes in a 27-ball 43 (3x4, 3x6). The two put on 68 runs off just 42 balls, Harmanpreet scoring 43 of those.
When the India captain was finally dismissed in the 14th over, Mandhana took over again. Benefiting from a review that overturned an LBW, she swept and lofted into the gaps, until finally finding the deep-midwicket fielder in the 19th over, out for a personal-best of 83 (55b, 9x4, 3x6). She brought up 1000 career runs in the process.
India finished with their highest T20I score against Australia, despite, Ellyse Perry’s brilliant spell of 3 for 16 in three overs.
Australia looked to be aggressive with the bat, but lost wickets at regular intervals in their chase. After a 27-run opening partnership, Deepti Sharma started the slide, removing both openers off consecutive balls in the fifth over. The two Yadavs, Poonam and Radha joined the fray, picking up the next two wickets, including that of Meg Lanning, to have Australia needing 107 off the last 54 balls with six wickets in hand.
The Indian spinners then applied the screws, using one-sided fields and conceding no boundaries between overs 10 and 14. Perry backed up her bowling with an inventive 39 not out, but she ran out of partners as the required run-rate rose; Australia were bowled out for 119, with Alyssa Healy not batting due to a concussion she sustained due to a collision with Megan Schutt.
Scores in brief:
India defeated Australia by 48 runs at the Guyana National Stadium, Georgetown
India 167-8, 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 83, Harmanpreet Kaur 43; Ellyse Perry 3-16, Ashleigh Gardener 2-25, Delissa Kimmince 2-42)
Australia: 119-9 in 19.4 overs (Ellyse Perry39 not out, Ashleigh Gardener 20; Anuja Patil 3-15, Radha Yadav 2-13, Deepti Sharma 2-24, Poonam Yadav 2-28)