Ellyse Perry's match-winning six in her 300th international appearance guided Australia to level the T20I series after the bowlers put up a clinical and disciplined performance restricting India to a below-par score of 130 on Sunday (January 7) at the DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai. The sides will meet in the series decider on Tuesday.
The visitors after getting thumped by nine wickets in the first T20I opted to bowl first. Kim Garth, who replaced Darcie Brown in the squad, struck early in the innings, trapping Shafali Verma lbw.
Jemimah Rodrigues looked in good shape, hitting three boundaries but she too, fell to Garth after nicking the ball to Alyssa Healy.
Smriti Mandhana failed to convert start yet again, departing for 23, and Captain Harmanpreet Kaur followed suit after getting dismissed by Ash Gardner for cheap. India were struggling at 54/4 after ten overs.
Deepti Sharma and Richa Ghosh upped the ante, accumulating runs at a good rate but Ghosh's innings was cut short by Georgia Wareham after skipper Healy decided to review a lbw call. With Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, and Shreyanka Patil adding in a few runs and 13 coming off Megan Schutt's final over, India managed to put 130 on the board. Similar to the previous match, this too, seemed like a win-the-toss, win-the-match affair.
Chasing a low score, Healy did not give Titas Sadhu, the Player of the Match of the first T20I, a chance to settle in as the skipper started with back-to-back boundaries towards the deep extra cover and deep square leg region, two overs into the chase. Beth Mooney, who has looked out of touch since the one-off Test, continued to struggle for form but the opening duo managed to put up a healthy 47/0 in the power play.
Haramanpreet decided to hand over the ball to Sharma and it did the trick! Sharma got the breakthrough off her very first ball as Patil held onto a fine catch of Healy at long-on. In the coming overs runs were hard to come by for Australia, as Sadhu and Sharma leaked only 12 runs in four overs which included Sharma dismissing Mooney to put her out of her misery. The opener could manage only 20 off 29 deliveries.
India finally had their foot in the game, pulling back the run rate down as Australia were limited to 59/2 in ten overs after a rapid start. Tahlia McGrath decided to take on Amanjot Kaur and slapped her away for a boundary. Australia had their noses in front once again as the McGrath-Perry duo kept finding the boundaries and the scoreboard ticking until Patil got rid of McGrath. Going for the reverse sweep, McGrath played it a little too early, top-edged the ball and Ghosh lapped a sitter.
Coming into the attack, Vastrakar sent Gardner packing soon and it was up to Phoebe Litchfield and Perry yet again, to steer Australia's innings. Perry and Litchfield stitched together a 36-run stand off 20 balls to put India's slim chances to sleep. Perry hit a six off Patil to win the match and add the fairytale touch to her 300th international appearance.
Brief scores: India 133/8 in 20 overs (Deepti Sharma 30, Richa Ghosh 23, Annabel Sutherland 2/18) lost to Australia 133/4 in 19 overs (Ellyse Perry 34*, Alyssa Healy 26, Deepti Sharma 2/22) by 6 wickets POTM: Kim Garth 2/27