India wins a thriller as Jhulan strikes with ball and bat

By Kersi Meher-Homji

If Indian women were devastated by the no-ball which had converted their victory celebrations to despair in the second One Day International (ODI) two days ago on Friday, they were jumping with delight after winning the third and final ODI yesterday.

Set a huge task of scoring 265 runs to win, India reached the target with two wickets and three balls in hand. It was India’s greatest ever run chase in the history of women’s ODI cricket and produced the second highest run chase by any team against Australia. This victory by India ended Australia’s record 26-match run of consecutive ODI wins.

The Player of the Match was India’s tall all-rounder Jhulan Goswami who followed her bowling spell of 3 for 37 by hitting the winning run, a four, in the final over.

With Beth Mooney (52 runs) and Asleigh Gardner (67) adding 98 runs for the fifth wicket and Tahlia McGrath contributing 47 runs Australian women totaled 9 for 264.

Indian women took up the challenge with gusto, opening batter Shafali Verma (56 runs) and Yastika Bhatia (64) added 101 runs for the second wicket. Both had recorded their first ever 50s in ODIs. The hunt was on.

Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana batted aggressively and brought India close to their victory goal. Both India’s and Australia’s fielding was disappointing as many catches were dropped. But Australia’s substitute fielder Molly Strano took a dream catch.

In the final pulsating over Jhulan hit a four and India won. It was India’s best ever run chase in ODI cricket and was the second highest run chase by any team against Australia.

Aussie girls bowled many wide balls, 31 against India’s six wide balls. In some way this contributed to India’s historic victory.

At the presentation Player of the Match Jhulan Goswami said, “We were just trying to stay there and finish the game. On Friday it was difficult for bowlers and today [Sunday] as the senior bowler I wanted to stand up and use the new ball well.”

Added Australia’s captain Meg Lanning, “We had our chances today. We probably weren’t able to take them at the important moments. Credit to India. I thought they came out really well with the ball and kept fighting with the bat so they deserved to win.”

India captain Mithali Raj responded, “We are very happy. I was just telling the girls, Australia’s winning streak started against India in India so now we are the ones who broke that streak. It’s good to have some depth in the batting order. Deepti [Sharma] scoring runs and of course Yastika Bhatia’s partnership with Shafali [Verma] were very important. And Sneh Rana’s cameo was very important for the team.”

Although India won this final ODI, Australia won the three match series 2-1.

Future itinerary:

The only Test will be played at Gold Coast from 30th September to 3rd October. It will be a day ”“ night Test.

This will be followed by three T20 Internationals at Gold Coast on 7th, 9th and 11th October. They will be night matches.

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