India lose a thriller but fight till the end

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Another thriller in the series between Indian and Australian women and another narrow win for Australia. Now Australia leads the three match Twenty20 International (T20I) series 1-0 with the final match to be played this evening.

Luck has on occasions deserted the Indian girls. When they are on top rain interrupts their chance to win. For example:

In the only Test last week, India’s victory march was interrupted by thunder and lightning and the match in which India was ahead on all four days ended in a draw. Then in the first T20I on Thursday, Indian girls were going great guns, smashing 4 for 131 in 15.2 overs at an exhilarating run-rate of 8.7 runs per over. But rain again stopped play and the match was abandoned.

Now to the second T20I last night. On a swinging pitch, India could make only 9 for 118 in 20 overs. But for Pooja Vastrakar’s gallant and unbeaten 37 (with three fours and two sixes) India would have been all out for under 90. Earlier, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur had scored 28.

I thought Australia would reach the winning target of 119 easily but India bowled with speed, spin and venom. In an exciting finish, Australia was six wickets down for only 94 runs, needing 25 runs to win off 22 balls. The thrilling match could have gone either way but Tahlia McGrath, playing only her second T20I, top scored in the match with 42 not out hitting six fours and Australia reached the target in the final over.

McGrath was voted Player of the Match. Overcome with emotion, she said, “Pretty good feeling at the moment. Bowlers set it up at the start. India bowled really well early and we’re pretty happy to get away with a win and a series win. The conditions were a little bit trickier than we expected.”

India’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur candidly commented, “We were 20 runs short today. The wicket was not that easy to bat on. If we had 20 more runs the result might have been in our favour.”

Aussie skipper Meg Lanning replied,I thought we bowled and fielded extremely well. It was probably our best performance of the series so far. Tahlia McGrath was able to bring us home which was exciting for her. She has looked really good all series.”

The third and final T20I starts at 7.20 pm today at Gold Coast.

In all three formats (three One Day Internationals, one Test and two T20Is), Australia leads India by nine points to five.

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