Jess Jonassen’s five-wicket haul denied India of what could have been a sensational triumph in Down Under as Australia beat India by 11 runs to clinch the Women’s T20I Tri-Series trophy on Wednesday. Jonassen’s fifer also overshadowed all the hard work done by India’s premier batswoman – Smriti Mandhana, who scored a blistering 66 of 37 balls, to put India in the driver’s seat while chasing. Also Read - Ian Chappell Backs Pat Cummins Over Steve Smith as Australia Cricket Team's Next Test Captain
Chasing a tricky total of 156 to win, Mandhana was up to the task at hand and smashed 12 boundaries during her knock at the Junction Oval to put India in contention. But after her wicket, India suffered a collapse and were all-out for 144 from being 115/3 in the 15th over. The seasoned left-arm spinner Jonassen was chosen the ‘Player of the Match’ for her brilliant figures of 5/12 in four overs. She became only the third Australian bowler to return a five-for in the women’s T20I format. Also Read - Cricket: Mohammad Azharuddin Defends WV Raman, Says There Are Very Few Sharper Brains Than His Former Teammate
Mandhana’s dismissal in the 15th over caught brilliantly by Nicola Carey in the deep mid-wicket, turned the match in Australia’s favour as they put the brakes on India’s scoring while at the same time taking wickets. Later, the departure of skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, in the 16th over, completely dashed India’s hopes of a victory. Also Read - Cricket: India's Test Matches Against England, Australia Were Not Fixed, Confirms ICC
“It was a really good all-round performance. Getting Mandhana was the game-changer, she was whacking us all over the park,” said Australian captain Meg Lanning.
“In the last three overs we couldn’t take the pressure and ended up losing wickets,” said India skipper Harmanpreet, reflecting on the loss.
Earlier in the day, India’s Rajeshwari Gayakwad leaked 19 runs in the last over to let Australia off the hook and post a challenging total of 155/6 in 30 overs. Opener Beth Mooney, who was adjudged player of the series for her 208 runs in the event, top-scored for the hosts with an aggressive 71 off 54 balls, hitting nine boundaries at the Junction Oval.
At the end of the 19th over, Australia were finding it difficult to free their arms at 136 for five.
However, Mooney and Rachael Haynes (18 off 7 balls) hit out in the last six balls to prop up Australia, ruining left-arm spinner Gayakwad’s day.
Opting to bat, Australia were dealt an early blow when Alyssa Healy (4) was dismissed in the very first over of the summit clash by Deepti Sharma, extending the wicketkeeper’s woeful run with the bat. Mooney found an ally in Ashleigh Gardner (26), with whom the opener added 52 runs for the second wicket, and then Lanning, who also made 26 during a 51-run third-wicket stand.
Deepti, who opened the bowling, finished with impressive figures of 2/30 in her four-over spell, while Gayakwad had 2/32. India’s 16-year-old Richa Ghosh made her first appearance for India, scoring 17 off 23 balls.