India played their 3rd match in the T20I tri-series which was a must-win encounter at the CCI in Mumbai. India won the toss and elected to field first. As the pitch had a little moisture, the Indian skipper chose this decision with an assumption that it would favour the bowlers for some early swing. India made only one change in the Playing XI, when Radha Yadav, the leg break bowler came in place of Veda Krishnamurthy. Australia’s skipper Lanning came back into the team, as so did Wellington.
Australian openers took off the innings slowly, the turn-around came in the 2nd over after back to back boundaries, Healy lost her touch as she got caught in the mid-off region to a leading edge of the young bowler Vastrakar. Hard hitter Ashleigh Gardner barely managed to get a big score yet again as she departed after a scintillating knock of 17 runs in which she stuck 4 fours.
Aggressive batter Villani along with the classy Beth Mooney shared a century partnership that took away the game from India. Mooney brought up her 2nd Fifty in her T20I career in style and saved the Australian line-up to lose its shape. Running between wickets and finding gaps were the defining points of this partnership. Villani stuck a boundary to bring up her 10th half-century in style. Poonam Yadav broke the 114 run stand between the two set batters.
The 17-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues took three catches during the course of the match. India also improved well in the fielding department, but the bowling was a let-down yet again.
After a tidy opening over by Jonassen, pace spear-head Megan Schutt toppled the entire top order. The in-form batter Smriti Mandhana and the experienced Mithali Raj went back to pavilion in back to back deliveries where the inside-edge does the trick. Deepti Sharma lifts a mistimed slog over the mid-off to handover Schutt her 1st T20 hat-trick. She became the first Southern Stars player to ever pick a hat-trick in the T20I format.
By this time, the required run rate jumped to over 13 an over. Though skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Rodrigues tried to stabilize the innings, the hard-hitting ability skills were implemented only later in the innings. The 17-year-old Jemimah hit her maiden T20I fifty, becoming the youngest Indian to do so. They put a partnership of 54 runs.
With the dismissal of this pair in a span of 17 runs, India was again in a mess that was so difficult to recover. T20I specialist Anuja Patil and the youngster Pooja Vastrakar played some un-compromising and lone fight till the end of the match. The duo put on a valour partnership of 51 runs off 37 balls. Though Australia was dominant in the bowling department, it let many drop-catches and misfields that can still be improved. India’s higher batting order failed to deliver in this crucial match which has lots of scopes to improve.
India crashes out of the Tri-series after this loss to Australia. Megan Schutt was adjudged the Player of the match for her match winning and record bowling figures of 3/31. Australia will next play England in the on 28th of March.
Australia 186/5 (B Mooney 71, P Vastrakar 2/28) beat India 150/5 (J Rodrigues 50, M Schutt 3/31) by 36 runs.