Titas Sadhu, Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana thump Australia

Titas Sadhu picked up 4 for 17; Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma added 137 for the opening wicket

Shajin Mohanan S
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Titas Sadhu

Titas Sadhu (extreme-R) celebrates a wicket © BCCI

Young pacer Titas Sadhu showed the way as India bounced back from the ODI series loss to register a thumping win over Australia in the first T20I at the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Friday (January 5). Led by the bowlers and equally backed up by the fielders in the first half, India openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma made light work of the chase on a good batting track to win by nine wickets.

Opting to bowl first, India went with four pace bowling options including the 19-year-old Sadhu and they were rewarded with four wickets in the power play. Sadhu was the wrecker-in-chief as she picked up three big wickets in Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath and Ashleigh Gardner in her first two overs. At the other end, Renuka Singh Thakur bowled four consecutive overs while accounting for Alyssa Healy for the fifth time in T20Is.

However, the in form pair of Phoebe Litchfield and Ellyse Perry counter-attacked from there to add 79 runs for the fifth wicket even as Indian bowlers strived hard with fielders diving around on a lush outfield. Although there were blemishes including a mix-up that led to the drop of Litchfield while the batter went for a reverse sweep, India were relentless with all three disciplines through the night. 

Litchfield was severe on the pacers and she didn't spare the spinners either. She smashed four fours and three sixes in her knock of 49 off 32 balls and was looking good for more when a slower delivery from Amanjot Kaur accounted for her.

That was the opening India needed and Grace Harris departed soon after with Shreyanka Patil trapping her in front of the wicket. Perry and Annabel Sutherland perished while trying to hit out and Australia couldn't get the final flourish. The visitors were bowled out for 141 in the final over with four deliveries to spare. Sadhu almost picked up a fifer with the final delivery of her spell only for the LBW decision against Georgia Wareham to be reversed on DRS. 

This was the first time Australia were getting bowled out in the format since their group stage loss against India during the home T20 World Cup in 2020.

For India, Sadhu finished with figures of 4 for 17 from her four overs while the off spinners Shreyanka and Deepti Sharma picked up two wickets each.

Chasing 142 for a win, India were given a good start by a wayward opening over from Darcie Brown that went for 14. Shafali and Mandhana built on it with a flurry of boundaries inside the power play. India scored 59 runs in the first six overs to set up the chase with eight boundaries. Shafali was the aggressor for India in the partnership even as Mandhana launched Sutherland for a six.

From there, it was about batting through the innings for the duo with required run rate coming down drastically thanks to the power play onslaught. Post power play, India picked up occassional boundary and were on 86 for no loss at the end of ten overs. 

In the 12th over, Shafali took on McGrath to hit a six and a four to take the partnership over the three-figure mark. The big hitting opener then brought up her second fifty against Australia from 32 balls. She then hammered Gardner for a six over cow corner. Mandhana also joined the party to register her 23rd T20I fifty with a single off Gardner in the same over.

Although Mandhana fell trying to take on Wareham thanks to a terrific catch by McGrath on the boundary, Shafali batted through the innings and remained unbeaten as Jemimah Rodrigues scored the winning runs with a boundary in the 18th over.

Brief Scores: Australia 141/10 in 19.2 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 49, Ellyse Perry 37; Titas Sadhu 4/17, Shreyanka Patil 2/19) lost to India 145/1 in 17.4 overs (Shafali Verma 64*, Smriti Mandhana 54) by 9 wickets POTM: Titas Sadhu