Irrespective of the result, it was a humdinger to begin the T20 World Cup. The game swung from one side to the other, before it settled in India's favour. While it can certainly be called an upset, India wouldn't mind the terminologies used as they have managed to get a win under their belt. More so, after losing the toss and being asked to bat first.
Australia, on the other hand, would look to brush off this loss pretty quickly and get back on winning track. Their next game is against Sri Lanka after a couple of days. But first up, we have a double header on Saturday (Feb 22) - West Indies take on Thailand first at the WACA in Perth, before New Zealand and Sri Lanka clash at the same venue later. Hope to have you with us for that game. This is S. Sudarshanan signing off! Take care!
Harmanpreet Kaur: "This is the first game of the tournament and it's good to get a win. We're happy. We knew this track is one we can do well on. We aimed to get towards 140 and let our bowlers do their thing and that's what happened. This track wasn't easy to bat on. We were looking to get to 140. Jemi and Deepti's partnership helped us. A bowler like Poonam Yadav is someone who leads our bowling from the front. She has comeback from an injury and good to have done well. Our team is looking very well. Earlier we relied on a few individual but now we're clicking as a unit."
Meg Lanning: "It put us under the pump a little bit but we were confident of a win. The wicket was consistent but a bit of turn here and there. We unfortunately didn't get going tonight. There was a lack of partnerships. Alyssa kept going well but after her fall none of us carried on. When we came into this match, we were as good as we've been. Unfortunately couldn't get over the line. If we win the remaining games in the pool then will go through. So will assess and come back soon."
Poonam Yadav is the chosen one for her 4/19. She says, "My team-mates and physio for helping me recover from the injury. They supported me throughout the phase. I bowled for the first time against Australia, so I wanted to do well against them. I am confident of we taking the trophy home if we do like this. This is the third time I have missed out on a hat-trick but God has been kind to me because he has helped me recover from the injury."
Australia were going all guns blazing after Alyssa Healy's heroics. She struck a quickfire half century and it looked as if Australia would coast to a win. Though at no point did India let Australia be way ahead of them. That's when Poonam Yadav left a mark on the game.
She first got rid of the dangerous Healy, before then going on to break Australia's spine - the middle order. She was ably supported by Shikha Pandey, who returned with three wickets. This is a result that Australia wouldn't be pleased with, given that they were the favourites by a mile. However, the kind of pitch, sort of, levelled the playing field. We shall get the presentations for you...
Australia 115 all out, lose by 17 runs.
This has been a clinical win for India, and it's all thanks to Poonam Yadav. She missed the tri-series due to injury and in the first game she played, she's had a lion's share in the win. Bowling the tournament favourites is no mean feat and India will certainly be happy with what they have just done.
Australia 133/9 in 19.2 overs, need 20 in 4 balls.
Shikha Pandey strikes a telling blow, gets rid of Ashleigh Gardner for 34. Bowls a high full toss but within the permissible height. Gardner looks to go big but ends up skying it. Pandey calls it and takes it easily. Done and dusted?
Australia 106/7 in 18 overs, need 27 in 12.
Poonam Yadav's spell comes to an end. She has excellent figures of 4-0-19-4, almost turning the game in India's way. She ALMOST had a fifer but since the ball bounced for the second time before the crease, it was given a no ball.
Is it over for Australia then?
Australia 101/7 in 16.3 overs.
Smart work from Taniya Bhatia and she has more than redeemed herself for denying Poonam Yadav a hat-trick. Seeing Annabel Sutherland charge down, Shikha Pandey delivers it wide of off. Sutherland missed it and Bhatia collected it and disturbed the stumps pretty quickly.
Australia 100/6 in 16 overs, need 32 in 24 balls.
Ashleigh Gardner has kept Australia in the hunt, smashing a huge six off Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the 16th over. She is on 27 off 23 balls and holds the key for Australia. She just needs Annabel Sutherland to give her support from the other end.
Australia 82/6 in 14 overs, need 51 more in 36 balls.
Taniya Bhatia may have denied Poonam Yadav a hat-trick, but she got low to get rid of Jess Jonassen for just 2 to give Yadav her fourth wicket. Yes, another googly it is, that gets her the success.
Australia 76/5 in 12 overs, need 57 in 48.
Poonam Yadav was on a hat-trick. She delivered another wrong 'un, almost the perfect one. Jess Jonassen lunged forward to defend and got a thick outside edge. But Taniya Bhatia couldn't hold on and fluffed the chance.
India on top now, just building the pressure on Australia, thanks to Poonam Yadav.
Australia 76/5 in 11.4 overs.
Poonam Yadav gets two in two! It's not everyday that you see the back of Ellyse Perry for a golden duck. Yadav loops the googly up, enticing Perry to come down the track. Perry does so, misses the ball completely to get castled.
Australia 76/4 in 11.3 overs.
Poonam Yadav gets another one. She is keeping India in the hunt, despite being hit for a four on the first ball. She tossed a wrong 'un around middle, Rachael Haynes slinks down the track but misses the ball completely. Taniya Bhatia does the rest.
Australia 71/3 in 11 overs.
Beth Mooney had a chat with Mel Jones: "I was only thinking how playing in front of 100,000 will feel (on being asked about playing at Showground in front of a full-house). I asked Alyssa Healy if I should face the first ball and she said that she will do so. She was confident from the moment she walked out and played her shots brilliantly. When the ball gets quite old, it gets difficult to score. The new ball came on to the bat nicely.
Australia 67/3 in 10 overs, need 66 more.
Alyssa Healy is back and how! Gets to her tenth half century in T20Is and third in T20 World Cups. She gets down the track and smashes it over the deep mid-wicket for half a dozen to get to the mark in just 34 balls.
Healy doing that thing where she trolls everyone by not making a run before a WC and then piles on runs when it starts (even though she's out now). #T20WorldCup— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) February 21, 2020
However, the champion that Poonam Yadav is, she extracts revenge on the very next ball. Bowls a loopy one which Healy tries to work to the on side after getting down the track. The ball takes the outer half of the bat and goes back to Yadav, who doesn't miss that.
Australia 55/2 in 8.3 overs, need 78 more.
Meg Lanning departs, thanks to a brilliant catch by Taniya Bhatia behind the stumps. She shimmied down the track to Rajeshwari Gayakwad to go over the top. But the ball turned a bit and took the outside edge. Bhatia took a smart catch and that was that.
However, the interesting part was that Bhatia didn't whip the bails off despite Lanning was way down the track. Had the umpire not given it out, India didn't have the option of the review to lean on.
Australia 52/1 in 8 overs, need 81 in 72.
Arundhati Reddy was given an over but she travelled to all parts, going for 15. Alyssa Healy in alive and kicking, racing to 40 in just 29 balls. She hit three fours in the over, feasting on Reddy's wayward bowling.
Australia 32/1 in 5.4 overs, need 101 in 86.
Shikha Pandey gets the breakthrough for India, getting rid of Beth Mooney. It was that in-between length that Pandey talked about. Mooney tried to get it over backward point but ended up giving a catch to Rajeshwari Gayakwad there.
Australia 25/0 in 4 overs, need 108 more.
India have managed to keep things quiet in the last couple of overs. Yet Alyssa Healy managed to hit one over Shikha Pandey for a four, though just six runs came off that over.
Deepti Sharma is keeping things under control and is bowling her third over inside the power play...
Australia 17/0 in 2 overs.
Alyssa Healy is up and running. She is on 15 off 8 balls, hitting a couple of fours off Rajeshwari Gayakwad. India's fielding wasn't the best there. 12 runs came off the over.
Alyssa Healy reaches double figures for the first time in her last six T20I innings.— hypocaust (@_hypocaust) February 21, 2020
This is also the first time in her last eight T20I innings v India that Healy has reached double figures. #AUSvIND #T20WorldCup
Australia 5/0 in 1 over, need 128 more.
Australia may have got off to an uneventful start, but Smriti Mandhana has walked out of the field, clutching her left shoulder. She dived to save a boundary but ended up smashing herself onto the advertising hoarding. Everybody in India would hope that is nothing serious. Harleen Deol is on the field now.
This was an innings of a different kind for India. Shafali Verma got them off to a flier, along with Smriti Mandhana. India were 40/0 by the fourth over. But once Jonassen got into the act, she gave little away. She was aptly rewarded with the wickets of Mandhana and then Harmanpreet Kaur.
Post that, Meg Lanning rotated the bowlers at her disposal smartly and choked India in the middle overs. Australia wouldn’t have picked up wickets in a heap but surely ensured that runs flowed at a premium. They did so well, that Annabel Sutherland didn’t need to have a bowl as well.
Do India have enough, though? A slow track, where the ball doesn’t come on to the bat, means that the Indian spinners will be in play. Back with the chase shortly.
Jess Jonassen's 2/24 pegged India back. She had a chat with Michael Clarke after the innings: "Nice to contribute after India got off to a flier. Nice to get the job done for us. It was a little bit on the slower side. It was quite difficult to score. We knew they were going to come out firing. We’re backing Alyssa Healy to come out firing. Hopefully Beth Mooney can get going from the other end too."
India 132/4 in 20 overs.
India manage only 11 runs in the last two overs including seven in the final one. Given that they had wickets in hand, India could be a tad disappointed not to have gotten more than what they have. Deepti Sharma stayed unbeaten on 49, unable to get a big shot away for her half century.
India 121/4 in 18 overs.
Not always do you see Megan Schutt go for runs and not feature in the wickets column. Her figures read 4-0-35-0. Her streak of picking up at least one wicket in a match has been broken after 23 games. What a time.
India 115/4 in 17 overs.
Deepti Sharma just stepped on the accelerator, hitting two fours in the over. She employed the sweep to a good effect, taking 10 off the first three balls including two fours. She is inching towards her maiden T20I fifty, batting on 39 off 37...
India 100/4 in 16 overs.
Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma punctuated ones and twos with some boundaries. In the process, they raised over 50 runs together.
But soon enough, Delissa Kimmince broke through, trapping Rodrigues plumb in front for 26. That ends the 53-run stand.
India 82/3 in 13 overs.
Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma have added 35 together in 38 balls. They are happily rotating strike, which is the smart thing to do. Keeping wickets in hand towards the end the key. How long before they tee off?
Indian camp looking utterly morose. Do they think they've already lost this? Rather telling if so. #T20WorldCup— Raf Nicholson (@RafNicholson) February 21, 2020
India 63/3 in 10 overs.
India could get just 14 runs in the last three overs and, like soda, India's fizz seems to have died down after the initial burst. Shafali Verma seemed to be batting on a different surface but since with her, the momentum is also gone.
Ahh! Like this situation. Deepti Sharma has a chance and a lot of time to show what she can do with the bat. Loved how she progressed on that aspect in 2019, hopefully @T20WorldCup 2020 is where it is in full flow.#T20WorldCup— S. Sudarshanan (@Sudarshanan7) February 21, 2020
Talk about riches... Ashleigh Gardner has been brought into the attack. She is sixth bowler used. They still have Annabel Sutherland in the ranks...
India 49/3 in 7 overs.
Jess Jonassen got another big wicket, that of Harmanpreet Kaur. The Indian captain looked to charge down and go over the bowler's head. Missed the ball completely. Alyssa Healy, too, didn't pick it. But the ball hit the wicket-keeper's pads and deflected back on to the stumps. Kaur had to walk back for 2.
India in a bit of trouble now, but not sure Alyssa Healy will be particularly keen on watching that back in the highlights reel. #T20WorldCup— Raf Nicholson (@RafNicholson) February 21, 2020
Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues in the middle for India now...
India 43/2 in 5.3 overs.
Ellyse Perry gets the big fish. Shafali Verma, who was batting on a different gear altogether, departs for 29. She was starved the strike and in a bid to break free in the final over of the power play, she perished.
She looked to heave a length ball over mid-wicket. Didn't get it off the middle of the bat. Found Annabel Sutherland, who is also on World Cup debut, at mid-on, who took it after moving a bit to her right.
India 42/1 in 5.1 overs.
Jemimah Rodrigues was given out LBW but thanks to the DRS, she continues to bat on. Ellyse Perry bowled one full around middle, Rodrigues missed flicking it and was hit low on the front pad. The umpire took her time before raising the dreaded finger. But the batter signalled the 'T' after which, the Hawk Eye showed that it would have missed the leg stump.
India 41/1 in 4.1 overs.
Jess Jonassen strikes on her second ball (first legal ball). Tosses one up, Smriti Mandhana goes for the slog. Misses it completely and gets hit on the back leg that was in front of the stumps. Given straight away, no need to review as well.
India 40/0 in 4 overs.
16 runs off Megan Schutt's opening over, thanks to Shafali Verma's strokeplay. She hit four fours in the over, all crisply-timed pristine strokes. The one that she hit through covers was one for the cameras. India are off to a flier with Verma batting on 29 off just 14.
Well India don’t have any nerves in this first game so far!! Wow some powerful striking by these two Mandhana & Verma. Hold onto your hats the @T20Worldis here.— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) February 21, 2020
India 24/0 in 3 overs.
Shafali Verma is banishing all the talks of Molly Strano having a stronghold over her. A tossed up ball was smashed over covers for a boundary and then a massive strike saw the ball fly over extra cover for half a dozen. Verma is on 13 on just 8, with Mandhana on a run-a-ball 10.
India 11/0 in 2 overs.
The ball isn't really coming on to the bat. So when Ellyse Perry bowled one on a length, Smriti Mandhana had to manufacture a pull. She did so and found Molly Strano at mid-wicket. But the off-spinner spilled what was relatively an easy chance.
What's more, a couple of balls later, Mandhana found the perfect length to heave one over mid-on. And then on the last ball of the over, Perry, from round the wicket, delivered one full around off. Enough for Mandhana to loft it straight over the bowler's head for another boundary.
India 2/0 in 1 over.
Much was talked about the Shafali Verma-Molly Strano match-up in the lead up to the game, given that Strano had got rid of Verma five out of the last seven times they met. Verma quietly tapped one towards mid-on to score the first run in the T20 World Cup 2020.
Smriti Mandhana, too, played a couple of dots, before getting off the mark. The first signs are that the ball isn't coming on to the bat. Quiet beginning to the tournament.
Will familiarity breed contempt? Australia and India have played each other quite a bit recently. They faced off thrice in the recently-concluded tri-series, including once in the title-clash. Moreover, India A had toured Down Under before that due to which, the likes of Shafali Verma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Molly Strano and Annabel Sutherland will know each other pretty well.
How the sides fare in the opening encounter will go some way in them having a say in the tournament given that Group A is the group of death. This is one of the crucial encounters in the tournament, let alone the group. Who will blink first?
Australia: Alyssa Healy (wk), Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Annabel Sutherland, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Molly Strano, Megan Schutt
India: Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Michael Clarke inspects the important 22 yards and here's what he says: "It looks dry. It looks to be a belter for the batters. It's an excellent atmosphere due to the size of the ground. The crowd seems so close. "
Tails is the call, heads it is! Australia will bowl first.
Meg Lanning: "Actually the weather is also a concern might go into play. But it is not a concern now. Molly Strano comes in, though we will miss Tayla Vlaeminck."
Harmanpreet Kaur: "We would have wanted to bowl as well. But it is important to play well irrespective of that. We are happy to get the support and will look to play at our best."
It's a start. A new beginning. An exciting time. Ten teams divided into two groups will fight it out and vie for the ultimate silverware in the T20 format. And the start to a World Cup can't get bigger than this - an Australia versus India clash.
We've heard people talk about two colours that are vital in a cricket match - the one at the top and the one of the strip in the centre. We still don't know how the track looks, but Harmanpreet Kaur did say that she felt that the track will be slow. That would mean advantage India. But can you ever discount Australia, more so in their conditions? Do it at your own peril!
We are set here to bring you live blog throughout the game and the tournament. So, get set for a fun ride with me, S. Sudarshanan today! Will get to you the toss and team updates soon.