Beth Mooney continues her golden run as Australia thump India

Beth Mooney scored an unbeaten 89 and shared 100-run stand with Tahlia McGrath

Shajin Mohanan S
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Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Australia

Tahlia McGrath (L) and Beth Mooney shared an unbeaten 100-run partnership © Getty Images

Number one T20I batter Beth Mooney continued her golden run and smashed yet another fifty against India to help Australia go 1-0 up in the five-match T20Is series at the D Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Friday (December 9). The left-hander shared a unbeaten 100-run stand with Tahlia McGrath as the visitors registered their highest successful chase in the format. 

Opting to field first on a great batting track, Australia found themselves up against it when Shafali Verma got going early on. Verma took on Megan Schutt and hit the swing bowler for a four and six in the opening over. She repeated the feat against Ellyse Perry in the third over, but fell in the next ball nicking a leg-side delivery behind for a ten-ball 21.

Although Smriti Mandhana struggled with her timing at times, in between she managed to produce enough good shots to hit Kim Garth for four boundaries in an over to help India capitalize the power play as India sped to 45 for 1 in the first four overs.

However, Perry struck again in the fifth over to remove Jemimah Rodrigues for a duck and India ended the power play on 48 for 2. 

Post the power play, Mandhana also walked back as she Annabel Sutherland dismissed her 28 in the eighth over. In this period, India slowed down significantly and only 18 runs came in a five-over period. 

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur tried to break the shackles with a pull shot for four but fell soon after. From 76 for 4, India needed someone to stabilize the innings without letting the run rate go down. 

Even as Devika Vaidya, batting at five on her return to international cricket, took her time, Richa Ghosh attacked Alana King to take India past the 100-run mark in a sequence that included a six and two fours. Vaidya also joined the India wicket-keeper to hit Jess Jonassen for a six and Ghosh followed it with a four.

Just as it looked like Ghosh would take India to a competitive total for the surface, Ashleigh Gardner had her stumped for 36 off 20 balls after conceding a six against the big-hitter.

India needed a strong finish and it came from the bat of Deepti Sharma as the south paw hit eight boundaries – including four consecutive fours off Schutt in the final over – to take the hosts to their highest first innings score against Australia in T20Is. 

For Australia, Perry was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets from her two overs, while four others picked up one-wicket each.

Chasing 173 for a win, Australia started strongly with a few edges, play and misses, and a drop catch from Radha Yadav – that off Mooney when she was on four. The southpaw shook off the edgy start and got going with three consecutive boundaries against Renuka Singh Thakur.

With Alyssa Healy also hitting a few boundaries, Australia went on to score 47 runs from the power play – just one run short of what India made in their first six overs.

In the seventh over, Kaur introduced the leg spin of Vaidya into the attack. Even though she went for a six and a four against Healy in her first ten balls, Vaidya had the last laugh when the Australian skipper hit a low full toss straight to Kaur.

However, that turned out to be the only success for India on the night with Mooney and McGrath taking over from there. At first it seemed like the duo was taking their  time, but by the 15th over, they managed to pace the chase so well that, Australia only needed to score 37 off the last five overs. 

Indian bowlers struggled with the dew and the fielding wasn’t inspiring either. After the required run rate went above ten, Australian duo decided to go on the attack and the home side didn’t have any answers. 

Reliable Sharma went for 14 runs before Yadav conceded 12 runs in the over. Once Mooney toyed with the field to gather four boundaries off Vaidya, India’s attack looked listless and a 19-run over from Meghna Singh almost put an end to their misery.

Eventually Australia got home with 11 balls to spare and Mooney remained not out on 89 as she shared a 100-run stand with McGrath. The Australia vice-captain also didn’t fare bad either and ended the night with an unbeaten 40 off 29 balls.

Brief Scores: India 172/5 in 20 overs (Deepti Sharma 36*, Richa Ghosh 36; Ellyse Perry 2/10) lost to Australia 173/1 in 18.1 overs (Beth Mooney 89*, Tahlia McGrath 40*; Devika Vaidya 1/33) by nine wickets POTM: Beth Mooney