Australia v India 24 Sep 2021

Series: India in Australia Sep/Oct 2021
Venue: Mackay
Format: ODI
Toss: Australia
Result: Australia by 5 wickets

Thriller Extends Streak to 26

This last ball thriller had everything, a frantic run chase, electric fielding, an umpire retiring hurt, a catch off a no ball for the final delivery, before Australia came out on top to extend their winning streak to 26 and their points tally for the series to 4.

Meg Lanning won the toss for Australia and once again invited Mithali Raj and her India team to bat first. Unlike the first game the Australian quick bowlers were not able to dominate and a 74 run opening stand in quick time by openers Shafali Verma (22) and Smriti Mandhana (86) laid an excellent platform for the team. Mandhana was at her best, her strokes through cover and her punishing leg side shots were a delight. There was a collective groan heard around the world, not least from Smriti herself, when she fell short of what looked a certain century.

A running mishap saw the demise of Mithali Raj (8) and first match hero Yastika Bhatia (3) didn’t last long. This paved the way for a lower order revival and this lineup left nothing in the tank. Richa Ghosh (44), Pooja Vastrakar (29), Jhulan Goswami (28*), Deepti Sharma (23) all made valuable contributions, as did Australia’s 17 wides. It gave India the commanding total of 274/7, their second highest against Australia. Best with the ball was Tahlia McGrath with 3-45.

For Australia’s winning streak to continue they would need to score the highest total they have had to chase during that time. It didn’t start well, losing Alyssa Healy three balls into the chase for a duck. She was soon joined by Meg Lanning (6) who fell to an excellent catch at deep backward square by Rajeshwari Gayakwad off the bowling of Meghna Singh. Australia was 11/2.

Struggling against tight lines and lengths by the Indian pace bowlers, Jhulan Goswamia and Meghna Singh, Australia progresses slowly until the 10th over when Ellyse Perry (2) was dismissed, runout by Pooja Vastrakar. When Ash Gardner (12) fell in the 16th over Australia was 52/4 and looked for all money gone.

While the calamity was happening at the other end, quietly, efficiently going about her business was Beth Mooney who had opened the batting in place of the injured Rachael Haynes. Mooney bats this way. You don’t notice much and all of a sudden she has 50 next to her name. Joining her in the revival was Tahlia McGrath (77) who forged a 126 run partnership with Mooney. It still wasn’t enough with the required run rate regularly sitting above 8 runs per over.

Nicola Carey (39*) came to the crease. Busy. Runs like a hare. Mooney (125*) began to open up and brought up her century, her second in ODIs. It all came down to the last over with 13 runs needed and indeed, the final delivery, with 2 needed. Goswami bowled to Carey who shoveled the ball to mid wicket and was caught. Video replay suggested an above waist high delivery and Carey was recalled to the crease. The final (final) delivery was bowled and the batters scampered through for 2 runs, giving Australia victory by 5 wickets.

The match could have easily gone either way and it’s testimony to the fight shown by both teams that the crowd was treated to such an exciting finish. It had everything. Even umpire Bruce Oxenford was forced to retire hurt midway through the match.

The five wicket victory now sees Australia’s winning streak move to 26, but importantly, two more valuable points for the series sees them leading 4-0. What is in store for game three?

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India 274/7 (Smriti Mandhana 86, Richa Ghosh 44, Tahlia McGrath 3-45) 50 overs
Australia 275/5 (Beth Mooney 125*, Tahlia McGrath 74, Nicola Carey 39*) 50 overs

Player of the Match:  Beth Mooney