And here’s the match report from Junction Oval:
Australia win by 11 runs
They wanted to be tested today, the Australians, and they were. Batting first, setting a target, then seeing if they could hold their nerve. They did so by exposing India’s weakness: that if the top four don’t get a chase done, there’s not much left. Mandhana played a blinder with a bit of luck, but when she went the rest couldn’t cover the deficit. Otherwise good strikers like Harmanpreet and Deepti chewed up too many dots, and there was no clear plan for how the tail could approach their task.
For the Australians, the late cameo from Rachael Haynes proved vital, while Mooney rode her luck to do the bulk of the scoring. The old firm among the bowlers made the difference when it counted.
A last little boost for the home team then ahead of the T20 World Cup, where they’ll take on India in the opening match on February 21.
We’ll be there, of course. Until then.
Wicket! Deepti c Haynes b Jonassen 10 (14 balls)
India get bowled out from the last ball of the match, and Jonassen picks up a five-wicket haul, as Deepti swings and gets a big top edge to backward point.
Wicket! Bhatia c Sutherland b Jonassen 11 (7 balls)
Well, Bhatia did her best, but India’s pair botched their running. First with Deepti Sharma’s drive to long-on they don’t come back for a second run to get Deepti back on strike. Then Bhatia drives into the covers and they don’t go for the single. Both times Bhatia would likely have been run out at the non-striker’s end, but you have to take your chances, hope for misfields and overthrows, and get your better hitter onto strike at all costs.
19th over: India 141-8 (Deepti 8, Bhatia 11) Schutt the bowler with 12 balls to go. They can’t get hold of her. Single, single, single. Finally Bhatia backs away and is able to carve a boundary between the two in the ring behind point, nicely timed. Goes again and gets it finer, a top edge as Schutt follows her, and four more.
India need 15 from the last over to win.
18th over: India 130-8 (Deepti 6, Bhatia 1) India now need 27 off 12, which is not going to happen on this surface.
Wicket! Yadav c Lanning b Jonassen 2 (4 balls)
Another attempted loft, another catch in the ring with Lanning falling backwards at mid-off. Easy enough. This falling away was always on the cards.
17th over: India 125-7 (Deepti 4, Yadav 1) Perry and Jonassen, the old firm, have changed the game in a trice after Schutt found the initial breakthrough.
Wicket! Pandey c Carey b Perry 4 (2 balls)
India start the over needing 37 from 24 balls, with an all-rounder and a useful bowler at the crease. Perry is the bowler, and Deepti nearly glances her fine for four, but just doesn’t get enough contact and Healy is able to stop it. No run to mid-off, where Mooney is ordered to hold onto the ball rather than throw at the non-striker’s end. Deepti finally gets a single, but the pressure is ratcheting up. Pandey’s turn now, and she wipes it away for four! Trying to go off her pads, instead a leading edge over backward point. But that’s the last of that, with Pandey driving in the air to mid-off where Carey gets a much easier catch.
Wicket! Reddy c Healy b Jonassen 0 (2 balls)
Yup, there it is. The all-rounder Reddy has a panic swing, a big sweep shot that only takes the top edge, swirling 20 metres back but Healy is a terrier down a drainpipe after a rat. Sprints back and leaps on her prey, jaws closing with a snap. Caught. Max Gawn.
16th over: India 119-6 (Deepti 3, Pandey 0)
Wicket! Harmanpreet lbw Jonassen 14 (16 balls)
That’s what Jonassen does! A bit of flight, straightening down the line, beating Harmanpreet’s push and hitting her in front of all three. India’s patented collapso is underway, unless the very impressive Deepti can avert the usual.
15th over: India 117-4 (Harmanpreet 14, Deepti 1) Well, common sense has prevailed in the Indian camp, and Deepti Sharma has emerged ahead of Taniya Bhatia. A couple of singles are all the Schutt concedes.
39 required off 30.
Wicket! Mandhana c Carey b Schutt 66 (37 balls)
That’s huge! The wicket Australia desperately needed. Nicola Carey has been having a filthy day in the field. She dropped that catch earlier. Then one ball before this dismissal, she made a hash of a simple stop at deep midwicket and let the ball through her legs for four. But that turns out to be Mandhana’s last scoring shot. Next ball is not that short but she goes back to pull in the air when she could go along the ground. Carey has to run around the boundary, then wheel in as the ball dips. She lunges, dives forward, and completes the catch right on the grass. Great take, and that could be all the difference.
14th over: India 111-3 (Mandhana 62, Harmanpreet 13) Gardner on now, the off-spinner who could turn the ball away from the left-hander. But Mandhana just drops and runs a single to get off strike. Harmanpreet opens the face and drives nicely but it’s stopped at backward point. She premeditates a sweep, with no one back at fine leg, and makes good contact, deflecting Gardner comfortably for four. Drives well again to cover but again finds the field. Nicely whipped through leg to find one run. Then down leg side, and it’s five wides! That’s significant. Mandhana went after it, trying to glance it but missed. Through the keeper, and no one can chase it down. From the bonus delivery Mandhana pulls a run, keeps the strike, and it’s 11 off the over.
45 from 36, very gettable, but India can lose control of chases quickly when they get four or five wickets down.
13th over: India 99-3 (Mandhana 60, Harmanpreet 8) Sutherland to start a new over, and Harmanpreet is into the action! A full toss on her pads that she waits for, then eases fine for four. The next ball is slower, blotted away for a single. Sutherland to Mandhana, and was that a drop? Driven back to the bowler, couldn’t quite tell if that was a bump ball or not, but I think it might have been on the full. Low and hard, and Sutherland can’t hang on. So Mandhana rubs that in by rocking back and pulling her next ball through midwicket for four, then strides forward and absolutely nails a drive back down the ground. That one definitely hit Sutherland’s fingers on the full, but it was up past head height and to her left, and it was more a flinch than an attempted catch. No chance of holding onto that, it was past her in a flash.
Mandhana has five boundaries in the last two overs, and India need 57 from 42.
Half century! Mandhana 51 from 29 balls
12th over: India 85-3 (Mandhana 51, Harmanpreet 3) Smriti Mandhana with the shot of the day! A dead straight drive, in the air, down the ground, off the fastest bowler of the day. Vlaeminck can only turn and watch. She drops short a couple of times to peg things back, but as soon as she goes fuller again Mandhana launches into it, the lofted drive over midwicket this time and into the gap! Four! What a day she’s having. Last ball of the over... pulled for four! Three boundaries from the over, and a gorgeous knock.
71 required from 48.
11th over: India 72-3 (Mandhana 39, Harmanpreet 2) There we are: Harry takes three balls to get off strike, guiding Perry to deep third for a run. Mandhana swipes one off her pads but it’s stopped in the deep. Another run to Harmanpreet, stabbing square of midwicket. Only three from the over!
They need 84 from 54 balls.
10th over: India 69-3 (Mandhana 38, Harmanpreet 0) At the halfway mark, the captain Harmanpreet is at the crease. She’s often questioned for getting off to slow starts, but they need 9 an over now. Mandhana helps by finishing off Vlaeminck’s over with a pull for four.
Wicket! Rodrigues c Carey b Vlaeminck 2 (5 balls)
Vlaeminck is back on, and the pace is still good. Mandhana doesn’t seem bothered, taking it casually off her hip for a run, but Rodrigues isn’t timing the ball as easily. Eventually hangs out the bat and guides a run to third. Mandhana shovels one through cover. There’s a wide, but that just give the bowler more shots at Rodrigues, who hooks the second-last ball of the over down to Carey at deep fine.
9th over: India 62-1 (Mandhana 32, Rodrigues 1) Mandhana has got on strike thanks to the dismissal, and opens the face of her bat to guide Sutherland in the air but safely for four. Right in between the point and short third fielders. Gets a couple of singles to square leg, either side of Jemimah Rodrigues getting off the mark with the same shot.
Wicket! Ghosh c Vlaeminck b Sutherland 17 (23 balls)
Annabel Sutherland’s first ball today, and it’s her first wicket in international cricket. Ghosh does what she’s up there to do – attack. Walks at Sutherland and pulls the short ball, but just a fat top edge so that short third can run behind the keeper and take the catch. Cue big celebrations for the young bowler.
8th over: India 54-1 (Mandhana 26, Ghosh 17) Jess Jonassen on to bowl her left-arm magic: rarely any room, always hitting the stumps, just nipping at batters like a cattle dog. She makes things interesting, keeping them to three singles and nearly having a catch taken at backward point. Just over, again.
7th over: India 51-1 (Mandhana 25, Ghosh 15) Oh my Ghosh! (As a million headlines will inevitably read over her career.) That’s the best of the teenager. Nicola Carey’s first ball, and Ghosh says she’s not afraid of this. Advances at Carey, makes it a half-volley, and creams it through cover on the walk. That was so classy. Then Ghosh stays back, leans back, creates the shorter length, and cuts off a thick edge through deep third for four more! She’ll be feeling pretty good now. Gets off strike, runs a couple for Mandhana, then they trade singles. A productive over worth 13 runs. The fifty is up. One third of the way there.
6th over: India 38-1 (Mandhana 22, Ghosh 5) Another dot ball puts the pressure on Ghosh, cutting Ash Gardner’s off-break straight to the field. But the batter gets down on one knee and plays the lap shot over her own shoulder, clearing short fine but saved on the rope. Perfectly timed, but only getting one run. Mandhana has another close call, driving wide of mid-on in the air. Sutherland makes good ground, dives, and maybe even fingertips that ball, but Mandhana survives with a run. Then it’s Ghosh with a close call, an outside edge spinning back, landing short of Haynes at backward point. Gardner has had three near things in the over, but she finishes it with a ball that Mandhana can get under, kneeling to sweep hard in the air for four behind square.
5th over: India 31-1 (Mandhana 17, Ghosh 3) Richa Ghosh is trying to line up Megan Schutt, but it’s hard to line up a bowler who can shift the ball through the air. Twice in a row Ghosh aims a big drive and misses on the inside half, nicking into her thigh pad. Third up, she advances to try to cut down the swing, getting a bit more bat on it but dragging it straight to the field. Stands up tall to force a shorter ball to cover, but again to the field. She tries a heave at the last ball in desperation, and gets a top edge that nearly carries for a catch at deep square. One run. Top over from Schutt.
4th over: India 30-1 (Mandhana 17, Ghosh 2) Lovely cricket: the short ball from Tayla Vlaeminck snorts up, real lift out of the surface, and then Mandhana gets up on her toes, rides the bounce and cuts it perfectly while barely moving the bat. Finally there’s a good stop at backward point that denies a run. Mandhana gets a boundary next ball, off the pads through midwicket, then gets off strike with a leg-side nudge.
Ghosh isn’t cowed, playing a pull shot first ball that finds midwicket, then getting another one fine for a single. Mandhana plays the same shot, squarer though, and picks up another four!
India going at 7.5 an over, needing 7.88. Up with the pace.
3rd over: India 20-1 (Mandhana 8, Ghosh 1) The debutant is off the mark, working Megan Schutt square for one. Mandhana, left-handed, aims a big smear in the same direction, taking advantage of a gap in the field to find the rope. Goes the other way through cover for two more, then clears her front leg to drive high over long-on and dropped! Dropped on the rope by Carey! An excellent outfielder but running at full tilt, getting her hands out in front of her, she loses the catch as she goes to ground. Just hits more of her wrist than palm and bounces out. That’s a gift for India. Mandhana really struck that well, just didn’t place it right.
2nd over: India 11-1 (Mandhana 1, Ghosh 0) Coming out at first drop is Richa Ghosh, on debut. Rodrigues has batted her previously in the series, but here’s a chance for a 16-year-old replacing another in Verma.
Wicket! Verma c Jonassen b Vlaeminck 10 (9 balls)
Tayla Vlaeminck bowling is fire with fire. The fastest Australian versus the hardest-swinging Indian. Too fast first ball! Verma misses with a baseball pummel. Backs away from the second but can’t lay bat on the pull. Hits the third short one, but not well. Waaaay up in the air, soaring, and it comes down in Jess Jonassen’s hands!
1st over: India 10-0 (Verma 10, Mandhana 0) A couple of days ago Ellyse Perry was bowling to Sachin Tendulkar at this ground while he was wearing Australian colours. Now she’s bowling to Shafali Verma in Indian colours. Perry is toying with bowling short to Verma, and nearly gets her! The pull shot just clears midwicket, where Jonassen leapt but the ball was too fast. Absolutely nailed but too close to the catcher for comfort. Shafali Verma is annoyed with herself despite the boundary. Perry sends square and fine leg deep so she can go short again, but bluffs and bowls fuller. Verma clouts in down the ground for six! Not entirely nailed, it hangs in the air a long time, but there’s enough on it to carry the rope.
India must chase 156 to win
The Australians started out saying they wanted 140 on this pitch, so 155 will be very welcome. Apparently it’s slowing up, and the bounce is not consistent. So it’s hard to tee off, as we saw with most of the Australians today. Mooney battled for most of the innings, Gardner couldn’t get going reliably, Lanning looked mint but was still undone by one that perhaps stopped in the wicket, Perry wasn’t comfortable at all. But this is T20, and quick burst like the one from Haynes can change everything. Mooney got going by the end, and now the home team have a decent platform to defend.
Which India will show up today?
20th over: Australia 155-5 (Mooney 71, Carey 0) Gayakward to close out the innings, contrasting styles of left-arm orthodox spinners. Short to start with, and Mooney was hoping to drive, but ends up slapping the ball on the up over cover for four. Tries to repeat the dose but miscues it just in front of long-off, running in.
To Haynes now. Gayakwad is trying to bowl very wide of off stump, to protect the leg side, but it doesn’t work. Haynes, advancing, drags four runs between the outrides on that side. Advancing again, lifts longer and higher over wide long-on for six!
Then tries for a third time, and she’s held at long-on by Harmanpreet Kaur. A wicket for Gayakward, Haynes has done her job though with 18 from only 7 balls. Nicola Carey comes to the non-striker’s end for one delivery, but isn’t required to run as Mooney drives it straight along the ground for four! Beating the dive from long-on.
So 19 runs from the last over, and the wicket.
19th over: Australia 136-5 (Mooney 62, Haynes 8) Gorgeous from Mooney. She’s got the left-armer Yadav coming around the wicket. Mooney would know that the bowler won’t want to get too leg-side, to avoid the left-handers hitting with the spin to midwicket. So Mooney shuffles across to leg, opening up even more room as the bowler lands on the line of the stumps. Inside out from Mooney, her pet shot, over cover for four.
Haynes comes down the wicket and drives one, just wanting to get Mooney back on strike. Mooney drops to one knee and slog-sweeps, but there’s an outrider behind square leg. One run. Haynes, high backlift, advances but can only drive to long-off. Mooney does the same.
18th over: Australia 127-5 (Mooney 55, Haynes 6) Two lefties together now, with vice-captain Rachael Haynes at the crease. Struggling for runs this summer, both in the Big Bash and the internationals. She gets a gift first up, outside leg stump for her to sweep fine for four. Then pick up two more in the same direction.
Wicket! Sutherland st Bhatia b Deepti 7 (6 balls)
Deepti Sharma back with her off-breaks. There’s a long-off, so when Mooney mistimes a drive it lands safely, but only nets her one run. It gets Sutherland on strike though, who advances and straight-drives four! Good shot, lofted but dead straight, and beats the dive on the rope. Sutherland goes square next time, taking her front leg almost to square leg for the dragged heave, picking the gap well enough to belt back for a second run. But the show comes to an end when Sutherland tries to go over cover, stepping out. Deepti Sharma almost yorks her, getting it in at her toes, and the keeper does really well to gather cleanly before Sutherland can get back.
17th over: Australia 114-4 (Mooney 54, Sutherland 1) Mooney is indeed trying to go. Clears her front leg to Reddy, trying to smear across the line, but can’t get it cleanly enough. Drives nicely to deep cover but only for a single. Sutherland gets off the mark with a run. Mooney tries another slog-sweep but it’s mostly top edge and lands safely for a single to deep midwicket. Sutherland has a concrete-feet hoick and misses outside off! Five runs from that over. The python sssssqueeze continues.
Half century! Mooney 50 from 42 balls
16th over: Australia 109-4 (Mooney 50, Sutherland 0) After crossing for Perry’s catch, Mooney tucks a single for her fifty. She’s held the innings together but had her dodgy moments, and will need to pick up the pace as well. Sutherland has been promoted to have a dip, but can’t score from her first ball. One run from the over! A triumph for India.
Wicket! Perry c Deepti b Gayakward 1 (6 balls)
The late-innings pressure tells! Three dot balls from Gayakward to Perry, who knows that she has to motor and so tries a big lofted on-drive. Doesn’t get enough of it, and Deepti Sharma on the rope takes the catch.
15th over: Australia 108-3 (Mooney 49, Perry 1) And nearly Ellyse Perry first ball! She comes down to Yadav, beaten by the turn, gets a touch on it into the ground and the ball rolls just wide of Bhatia behind the stumps to avoid a stumping. Second ball, Perry chips over midwicket for a single, another dicey shot.
Wicket! Lanning c Verma b Yadav 26 (19 balls)
Talk about against the run of play! Radha Yadav bowling her third over, and Lanning had just laced a sweep shot to deep square leg to raise a 50 partnership from 34 balls. But two balls later Lanning is out, sweeping again but toe-ending it for a simple catch to backward square leg inside the circle.
14th over: Australia 104-2 (Mooney 47, Lanning 25) Reddy’s bowling, a good tight line that doesn’t give Lanning much to work with. She takes off for a single to mid-off, and... should have been run out! Oh dear, what on earth has happened! That’s very unlucky for the Indians. Pandey at mid-off collects, has time to settle, three stumps to aim at, and throws perfectly on line. Bouncing a few inches in front of the stumps on the way to hitting them. Lanning is well short of her ground, she’s about to be out... but instead of hitting turf the ball hits the plastic cover that protects the electrical leads for the microphones and stump cam. There’s a small square plastic cover, and on impact it tilts into the hole beneath, meaning it deflects the ball almost at right angles, away from the stumps towards midwicket. Lanning sees that the stumps aren’t down and jumps up to take a second run. Well, that seems very unfair for India, there’s no way to factor in foreign objects on the field. The throw was perfect, had it hit grass.
13th over: Australia 96-2 (Mooney 46, Lanning 18) Mooney’s streaky run continues, a thick outside edge against the left-arm ortho spin of Radha Yadav that clears backward point. She’s taking the right approach, they have so much batting left. Gets a couple, then drives a single. Lanning gets strike, dips, and sweeps hard for four! Then shuffles and drives to long-off. Mooney gets cramped up and can’t score, but then runs really well to get back for a second from the last ball of the over, just tucking it past the bowler into an empty patch of ground towards midwicket, and taking advantage of the slow roll that leaves the boundary rider a long way to come in. They’re up towards 7.5 an over.
12th over: Australia 86-2 (Mooney 41, Lanning 13) Quality shot from Mooney. Pandey comes back and floats one up outside off, but quite a half-volley but close enough. Mooney cocks her back knee and gets under the drive, lifting it easily over mid-on for four. Follows up with a brace, then a single. Pandey lands the ball better to the right-hander, Lanning digging out a yorker for one run.
11th over: Australia 77-2 (Mooney 33, Lanning 12) Look, life’s hard enough if you’re bowling well to Meg Lanning. But you can’t bowl badly to Meg Lanning. She is the most ruthless disposer of bad balls in the game. Reddy is the one to suffer, bowling an absolute horror full toss at the thigh pad. Lanning just waits, clips, and sends it high over square leg onto the grass banks for six.
10th over: Australia 65-2 (Mooney 31, Lanning 2) Another close one for Mooney! Backing away from the left-arm spinner Gayakward and throwing the kitchen sink at one, slicing it in the air through cover! Nearly caught at cover and at point, but the ball whistles through for four. Lanning, by contrast, just nudges a couple of singles.
9th over: Australia 58-2 (Mooney 26, Lanning 0) The biggest name is now up on the screens. Meg Lanning reaches the middle. The batters crossed, so Mooney has strike and works a couple of runs to midwicket.
Wicket! Gardner c Gayakwad b Reddy 26 (24 balls)
Gardner’s gone! Out of nowhere really. It’s a quiet over of mediums from Arundhati Reddy, who also throws in a bouncer at very modest pace. Fourth ball of the over, it’s fuller and Gardner aims a big off-side drive, but doesn’t have much shape as she swings at that ball. It goes high to cover, where Gayakward can’t stop being chased by the ball, but this time she takes the catch and can try to put her early wobbles behind her.
8th over: Australia 52-1 (Mooney 22, Gardner 25) Gayakwad will get her chance to do something with the ball now. It hasn’t gone so well in the field. She’s happy to come around the wicket to the right-handed Gardner, over to Mooney. Tight lines, making Gardner scramble a single that was nearly a run-out, then she’s bowling a nice line that Mooney edges and is missed! Not a drop, that was nicked past the keeper, a bit too high and fast for Bhatia to get gloves near it. But another false shot for Mooney, though it nets her two runs with a good save on the rope.
7th over: Australia 47-1 (Mooney 18, Gardner 24) Radha Yadav now, left-arm twirler, really gives the ball air. She’s second ranked in the world in this format at the moment. Over the wicket, and Mooney laces a drive through cover for four. But nearly runs herself out next ball, tapping to cover for a single, and Harmanpreet’s throw is too hot for Radha to gather in time at the bowler’s end. Just yanked that throw and dragged it a bit wide. Gardner then nearly outhinks herself as Radha bowls outside leg stump. Gardner nearly plays, decides to leave it to score the wide, then realises she’s walked out of her crease. Has to scramble to get back. Radha Yadav ends the over with a couple of loopy full tosses, and Gardner only gets two from the first but sweeps the second even harder, and it hits Gayakwad on the fence hard enough to spill through.
6th over: Australia 35-1 (Mooney 13, Gardner 18) Pandey to the left-hander now, and stays on the leg-stump line preferred by the spinner, thundering one into Mooney’s pad. Goes wider outside off and Mooney is dropped! Oh, that’s a shocker. A simple catch as Mooney advances, swings, looping outside edge to backward point, and Rajeshwari Gayakwad has shelled it. Only had to move a few steps, nice gentle angle, and yet it lands in her cupped hands and her cup runneth over. Pandey groans. They take a single. A few more dots to Gardner, then one more boundary lifted over long-off. That makes 24 dot balls and one wicket in the Powerplay.
5th over: Australia 29-1 (Mooney 12, Gardner 13) Harmanpreet persisting with Deepti Sharma for a third over in the Powerplay. Interesting call in T20 cricket where so many captains ring the changes every over. But Deepti is managing this beautifully. She’s stayed over the wicket to the left-hander, who is taking guard well outside leg stump to try and open up cover. Well, Deepti is alive to that, and is spearing the ball in at Mooney’s pads, nowhere near the stumps. Four times in a row, Mooney tries to play with a fairly straight bat and can’t get any purchase on that line near her stumps. Finally, frustrated, she gallops down and slaps a shot just over mid-off! Nearly caught, but gets four. Last ball of the over, Deepti drops a bit too short and Mooney is able to unleash her sweep shot cleanly over short fine for four more!
4th over: Australia 21-1 (Mooney 4, Gardner 13) Pandey to Gardner once more, and working the batter perfectly by holding the ball back of a length, outside off. Gardner swishes but misses. Fuller next, but Gardner mistimes a clunky drive hard into the ground for nothing. Fuller still with the third, and Gardner lofts it clean down the ground for four! One bounce over mid-on, nice and easy. So Pandey addresses that, shifting wider again, better length and curling away! Gardner misses completely. Fifth ball, Pandey tucks her up on off stump, leaving Gardner trying to sprint a single after dropping to point, but there’s no run with the left-handed Radha Yadav at point. Last ball of the over, Pandey is all over Gardner now! Fuller, but just pulled back enough to get a bit of swing! Gardner swings hard aiming over long off but misses completely. Like the last over, five dots and a boundary. This is good work from India’s bowlers.
3rd over: Australia 17-1 (Mooney 4, Gardner 9) It’s taken until the third over but Mooney finally gets a chance to get off the mark. She’d only faced one ball before this. Deepti bowls to her, over the wicket, landing a dipping off-break well enough but Mooney is briskly down the wicket, to the pitch, and waiting to drive it inside-out over cover. Four runs with the fielding restrictions still in place. That’s Mooney’s strength: she doesn’t bother hitting sixes because she can find the fence so often. Deepti tightens right up thereafter though, hitting a good in-between length that leaves Mooney unsure whether to move forward or back, and darting in some faster ones to discourage the advance. Five dot balls in a row! What a recovery from the all-rounder.
2nd over: Australia 13-1 (Mooney o, Gardner 9) Shikha Pandey to bowl next, outswing seamer to contrast with Deepti’s swing. And she sets up a proper seamer’s battle with Gardner. First ball, overpitched and driven through the covers for four. Third ball, perfect length and swinging, beating the outside edge of a drive! Fourth ball, sucking Gardner into the drive again, getting a chunk of it and scoring four but that skewed in the air over cover point and was so nearly caught! Just luck took it far enough into the gap. Final ball of the over, Gardner is tentatively prodding at an outswinger pitched further back, missing again as she was neither here nor there with her shot. Great tussle.
1st over: Australia 5-1 (Mooney o, Gardner 1) So Ash Gardner reaches the crease early in the day once again, as she has done a lot lately with Healy’s recent run of low scores. Gardner enjoyed it last time, battering 90-odd against India, although they tracked down Australia’s total in the end.
Wicket! Healy c Bhatia b Deepti 4
And we’re away with a wicket! Healy gets a good start by tugging Deepti Sharma’s off-break square of the wicket for four, but when the line switches to wide outside off Healy aims a big cut shot and only gets the edge. Should have smashed that really, but maybe a bit of extra bounce? “How was that, how was that!” yells Bhatia, who took it well after moving across outside the off stump. It’s outski.
Australia win the toss and bat
You’re not listening to me, Australia!
Or perhaps given that defending has been a recent weakness, the Aussies would like a chance to try that again and do it better.
The teams: two left-arm spinners for India as has been the style recently. Two seaming all-rounders for Australia, plus the pace of Vlaeminck.
Harmanpreet Kaur *
Taniya Bhatia +
Alyssa Healy +
Meg Lanning *
Hello, cricket types. We’ve had the first round. We’ve had the second round. We’ve had England miss out on net run rate. The English women just finished demolishing the CA XI in a final hit-out for them, and now Australia will take on India in the tri-series final.
The Indians have been a bit all over the place in this series. They’ve made two big scores (150 and 177) to win games while chasing, but have struggled to top six runs an over when batting first. If you win the toss, pop them in. But their exciting top order can mow down any target if they get going. Verma, Mandhana, Rodrigues, the three young guns, with the flint-hard Harmanpreet to come in behind them. Not to mention Deepti Sharma down the order.
Australia have looked a bit ropey at times too, batting well but not keeping scores down too well in the field, at least until they squeezed England in the final group match to qualify. But their overall quality will tell more often than not. They just have some more fine-tuning to do ahead of the...
Women’s T20 World Cup! Yep, it’s the next engagement after today. Not long now.