Phoebe Litchfield, Ellyse Perry headline Australia's chase

Ellyse Perry scored 75 and added 148 runs for the second wicket with player of the match Phoebe Litchfield

Druti Banerjee
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Phoebe Litchfield and Ellyse Perry

Phoebe Litchfield (L) and Ellyse Perry © Getty Images

After their battle in the Test format, India and Australia went head to head once again, this time in the ODI series. And Australia walked away as winners in the first ODI after registering the second highest successful chase at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday (December 28). Player of the match Phoebe Litchfield, Ellyse Perry and Tahlia McGrath were the stars with the bat for the visitors after a fighting knock from Jemimah Rodrigues and finishing flourishes from Pooja Vastrakar helped India set them a target of 283.

The first match of the ODI series started with India winning the toss and the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur elected to bat first. She mentioned that it was an afternoon game and the pitch seemed clear, indicating it to be a great batting pitch.

The openers Yastika Bhatia and Shafali Verma had a slow start and unfortunately for India, on the very first ball of the third over, the first wicket fell as Darcie Brown sent Shafali back. Bhatia batted on and went on to score 49 off 64 balls and missed out on a well-deserved half-century.

Earlier, Richa Ghosh, who was promoted to number three, had a great start and hit four boundaries before falling to Annabel Sutherland. Harmanpreet Kaur fell early as well before Bhatia's departure left India struggling at 95 for 4.

Rodrigues established a good partnership with Deepti Sharma before the latter fell to the leg spin of Alana King. Rodrigues kept the innings together even as shre struggled with the conditions at Wankhede. The right-hander threw up multiple times, but she didn't let that affect her and added another 45 runs with Amanjot Kaur.

Rodrigues remained their and batted till the 47th over and in an innings that saw seven boundaries, she hit her fifth half-century in ODIs. She kept sweeping the spinners on length and ran hard despite her physical struggles.

After Amanjot’s dismissal, Vastrakar stepped in with Rodrigues for company. This turned out to be the best partnership of the innings. Both of them made sure to take singles everywhere possible and added 68 runs for the eighth wicket before Rodrigues walked back for a well-made 82 off just 77 balls.

Despite the fall of Rodrigues, Vastrakar added another 32 runs with Renuka Singh Thakur. She used her row power to good effect and managed to keep the strike for most part of the last two overs. India eventually finished ther innings on 282 for 8.

In the chase, India dismissed Alyssa Healy for a duck in the first over with Renuka striking in the first over in yet another limited over fixture. This time she was helped by stunning catch from Sneh Rana.

However, the joy didn't last long with Litchfield and Perry finding boundaries at will even as Renuka kept it tight from one end. Perry was the aggressor and that let Litchfield take her time and together they added 148 runs for the second wicket. Both Perry and Litchfield hit some amazing shots to bring up their respective half-centuries.

In the 26th over, India, finally, had a breakthrough as Perry was dismissed for 75 off 72 balls with Deepti accounting for her. Although Sneh Raina was able to take the big wicket of Litchfield for 78, McGrath and Beth Mooney made light work of the chase and added another 88 runs.

From there, the duo found boundaries at will - especially McGrath as she reached her fifty from just 40 balls. By the time Vastrakar removed Mooney in the 42nd over, Australia were firmly in the driving seat and went on to win the game with plenty of balls to spare.

Brief Scores: India 284/8 in 50 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 82, Pooja Vastrakar 62*; Georgia Wareham 2/55 ) lost to Australia 285/4 in 46.2 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 78, Ellyse Perry 75; Renuka Singh Thakur 1/30) by 6 wickets. POTM: Phoebe Litchfield