That is a real disappointment for India. They were going at 8.54 per over when play was stopped. Only once in T20 cricket has India ever finished an innings with a faster rate than that. If they’d kept that rate up, they would have scored around 171. If they’d gone at 12 an over, they would have equalled their best ever score against Australia, which is 187.
Mandhana and Verma kicked them off in style with 31 from 3.1 overs. Harmanpreet struck the ball beautifully in a brief stay of 12 from 5 balls. Then Bhatia played the quiet part of a 51-run partnership while Rodrigues went to town, before Ghosh came in and supported Rodrigues through to when play was stopped. With Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma, and Pandey to come, there was plenty of late-innings firepower.
Australia with a sigh of relief perhaps that a difficult situation has ended up with points shared. We’ll be back for the last two matches on Saturday and Sunday, where hopefully we’ll see 40 overs of play.
And that’s it. Even as we try to do the maths in our heads, the news comes through. Match abandoned. Scoreline 7-5 on points in the series. Two to play, worth 2 points each.
The radar still has a lot of cloud on it, in one thick streak.
India's innings has been ruled as complete
The number required in the chase will be calculated based on how many overs there will be time for if we get back on. But there might not be time for any. Need to get five overs in, I’d guess that we only have another 20 minutes or so to get started.
Just thinking about what it would mean for this series if this whole match is rained off. It would take the drawn series out of the equation. (Unless there were another no-result, or a tie.) Teams split points for a no-result, meaning it would be 5-7 to Australia. So then India would need to win both of the remaining two matches to win the series. Or Australia would wrap it up with one more win.
It has been spitting through the last 10 overs or so, but started to come down more heavily just now. Hopefully it’s brief and India get to finish their innings rather than having a DLS approximation applied. Rodrigues would like one more run for herself...
15.2 overs: India 131-4 (Rodrigues 49, Ghosh 17)
15th over: India 130-4 (Rodrigues 48, Ghosh 17) Vlaeminck is back to round out her work for the day. Serious pace, even in this one-off over. Zips one past the edge and nearly gets a nick. But they’re still able to knock around some singles and twos and make the over profitable with eight runs.
14th over: India 122-4 (Rodrigues 44, Ghosh 14) Tahlia McGrath on for her first over, as Australia’s many-splendoured XI offers so many options. Ghosh is here to swing and keep swinging. Gets some luck and finds the fence. First towards midwicket, where Wareham commits to charging in for the catch but gets the awkward half-volley instead, through her. Then a sliced top edge swinging outside off stump, over the top of short third by a fraction. Finally, a straighter bat and a thick outside edge that goes just fine of short third!
13th over: India 108-4 (Rodrigues 43, Ghosh 1) Suddenly the scoring slows. Two runs off the over, plus the wicket. And almost another one, as Ghosh nicks a ball but it hits Healy right in the protector rather than the gloves.
WICKET! Bhatia c Vlaeminck b Wareham 15, India 106-4
Georgia Wareham gets a wicket with her first ball of the night. Meg Lanning seems to have a real aversion to using her leg-spinner lately: barely bowled in the Test match, for instance. Comes on to bowl the 13th over tonight. But strikes. Bhatia tries to go big down the ground, but doesn’t read the dip and chips it to long-on.
Very useful partnership though, worth 51 from 38 balls. Yastika Bhatia did her bit.
12th over: India 106-3 (Rodrigues 42, Bhatia 15) Rodrigues keeps churning, two more boundaries through deep third. One a bit streaky from the cut, one very deliberate with a steer that goes fine.
11th over: India 96-3 (Rodrigues 33, Bhatia 14) What in Sam Hill was that! Yastika Bhatia steps out to play the ball, squeezes it out a few metres to the off side, and then somehow thinks there’s a run. Rodrigues refuses immediately, then Bhatia slips as she turns back. Gets her bat caught in the ground and drops it. By this point Healy has come out from behind the stumps and gathered the ball, got her glove off and turned. Bhatia is crawling along the ground! Stretching for the line like someone in a climactic fight scene trying to press the stop button on a bomb. Healy tries the throw, and misses. Not sure whether Bhatia would have had a fingertip over the line had the throw hit. But instead they get an overthrow. Bhatia bounces up and sets off without her bat to the non-striker’s end. Chaos.
By the time she gets strike back, she gets her composure back. Moves across her stumps and scoops Gardner away through fine leg for four. This after Rodrigues cuts off the top edge past Healy behind the stumps for four. The runs won’t stop.
10th over: India 85-3 (Rodrigues 27, Bhatia 9) Respect to the ground DJ for playing Bon Jovi at the 10-over mark. (“We’re halfway there...”)
Darlington on to bowl. Got some tap in the ODIs. Same again to start here tonight! Rodrigues shuffles around the crease a bit, makes room, and twice pops her over mid-off for four.
9th over: India 74-3 (Rodrigues 17, Bhatia 8) Nicola Carey to bowl, skiddy medium-pacer, and Bhatia drives her on the up, over mid-off, and in a tangle of limbs the chasing Darlington takes it over the line. Carey beats her to end the over though, a bit of shape in the air past the outside edge.
8th over: India 67-3 (Rodrigues 15, Bhatia 3) Here’s Gardner to go again. Short to Rodrigues, who opens the face and guides it away. Wants a second run but Bhatia says no. Same story as Yastika tucks a run to midwicket. A really sharp pair would have turned for the second. Aerial and uncontrolled as Rodrigues cuts a run to point. Bhatia charges and drags square of mid-on, but McGrath gets down to save it. Finally it’s Rodrigues who breaks through the field, backing away enough to get power on her cut shot and placement behind point for four.
7th over: India 58-3 (Rodrigues 8, Bhatia 1) Ellyse Perry will have a bowl, with the fielding restrictions now lifted. She does the job really well, a tight line giving away only three singles.
6th over: India 55-3 (Rodrigues 1, Bhatia 0) Another big shout from Molineux against Bhatia, first ball, and Bruce Oxenford says no! This time the batter is left-handed, so Molineux is coming over the wicket but bowling quite wide on the crease. Angling it in. The angle causes the umpire to think the ball is going down the leg side as it hits Bhatia on the back pad. Although ball-tracking would have said: three reds. No DRS in this series. Molineux denied the chance to be on a hat-trick.
That’s the end of a very busy powerplay.
WICKET! Harmanpreet lbw Molineux 12, India 55-3
The runs keep flowing, the players keep going. Rodrigues joins the scoring party, cutting Molineux with precision for four, then getting low and sweeping another past short fine leg. But after they rotate strike, Harmanpreet stretches forward and misses while trying to work across the line. Molineux is bowling from around the wicket, and gets the ball to angle in and straighten, hitting low on the pad. The Ox says: out.
5th over: India 46-2 (Rodrigues 1, Harmanpreet 8) Vlaeminck bowls her third over on the trot. Rodrigues guides a single to deep third, and then it’s welcome back Harmanpreet Kaur! Gorgeous hook shot for four. The bouncer, up at the grille, and she hits it right out of the screws. Vlaeminck follows up with a fuller one, and Harmanpreet flicks off her pads for four more! She’s 8 from 3 balls.
Mandhana was 17 from 10, Verma 18 from 14.
4th over: India 37-2 (Rodrigues 0, Harmanpreet 0) Gardner is having one hell of a series. Not just one, but both openers. Could be the key intervention of the day already. Two fresh players at the crease.
WICKET! Verma c Wareham b Gardner 18, India 37-2
Two in three balls! The delivery in between is smashed for six, tossed up by Gardner and slog-swept by Verma all the way out to the fence over midwicket. But the next ball is fast and flat, darting across Verma wide of the off stump, and the batter plays the same shot but drags it much flatter. The Australians know Verma’s game, and Wareham at deep mid is positioned just right.
WICKET! Mandhana c Darlington b Gardner 17, India 31-1
Golden arm Gardner! Doesn’t do much with the ball, maybe a bit of dip, and Mandhana toe-ends her attempted drive down the ground. It goes high rather than long and lands on the edge of the circle at mid-off where Darlington is waiting for her first catch in international cricket.
3rd over: India 29-0 (Mandhana 15, Verma 12) My, oh my. Verma has a notion against Vlaeminck, which is to move across outside off stump and try to ramp or deflect over the keeper or backward square leg. She does it three times in the over, and misses three times. Leaves all three stumps exposed each time. But Vlaeminck is bowling outside off, and doesn’t hit timber. Finally, fifth ball of the over, Verma moves leg side and cleans out a full ball over long on for a massive six. That was almost down the vehicle race! Huge striking!
Backs away to the sixth ball, and misses. It’s on the line of the stumps but goes over. Living by the sword, Verma, and you know what follows that.
2nd over: India 22-0 (Mandhana 15, Verma 6) Australia starting at the other end with left-arm spin, as has been the case in many games before. But Sophie Molineux ain’t quite Jess Jonassen. Mandhana goes one, two, three. Over mid-on for four, then over mid-off for six, both simple lofted drives struck with ease. Then goes back in her crease for a third big shot, swept behind square for four. India flying.
1st over: India 8-0 (Mandhana 1, Verma 6) Welcome back to the big time, Tayla Vlaeminck. She oversteps massively first ball, giving Mandhana a free hit but it only goes to fine leg for a single. Not so cheap with her next ball though: width and Verma carves her bat through the line, slicing it over point for six! Verma just bursts out laughing, even she is surprised. Backs away next ball and tries again, but misses on account of the width. So Vlaeminck follows up by following Verma, with a sharp bouncer that has her sniffing leather as she yanks her head away! Phew. Some start.
And we’re away...
Harmanpreet Kaur *
Richa Ghosh +
Alyssa Healy +
Meg Lanning *
The news, the news. Rachael Haynes is still out injured. But Tayla Vlaeminck is back! They’ve been waiting for this since she got hurt just before the 2020 World Cup, really. Easing her in with a four-over stint. Hannah Darlington is making her debut in this format, having started out in ODIs a couple of weeks ago. This is the format where she’s been so good bowling at the end in the Big Bash. And Tahlia McGrath is playing her first T20 for Australia, which is odd considering she started in ODIs in 2016 and played a Test in 2017. But here she goes. And with Healy opening with Mooney, that means Perry will bat at 5. Interesting to see what her future in the T20 format is for Australia, given her best work domestically is done at the top.
For India, Harmanpreet Kaur is back! The captain in this format, recovered from injury. Yastika Bhatia gets a cap as reward for her good work in the other two formats. Tania Bhatia was the specialist keeper for the Test but makes way for Richa Ghosh here. The seamer Renuka Singh makes her debut, and Shikha Pandey is back in the short form after being left out of the ODIs. No room for Sneh Rana despite recent heroics in all formats.
Australia win the toss and will bowl
Have a look, then chase. The T20 mantra. Australia get that chance.
This is... part three. Of the multiformat series, that is, between Australia and India. And the whole thing is on the line. The Australians would have come into this affair confident of bossing the fixtures on home ground, and that was borne out when they wiped out India in the first one-dayer, chasing a decent target one wicket down like it was the easiest thing in the world.
Since then, though, things have changed. India dominated the second match and should have won but for some late choking with the ball, and the Aussies got away with it. India came back from that disappointment to win the third match. Then the visitors had much the better of the Test match, and rain was the main factor preventing them from pressing for a win.
So the Aussies have been challenged. Nonetheless, they lead the points system 6-4, and are a champion team. Three T20s will round out the series.
The equation is that India need three wins from three to win the series. So first mission for Australia, notch one more limited-overs win and at least lock in a shared result. From everything we’ve seen so far, this should be another good contest.