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Women’s Cricket: Australia beat India by 3 runs in 2nd ODI at Wankhede Stadium

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In Women’s Cricket, Australia beat India by three runs in a well-contested match in the second game of the 3-match ODI series at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.

Chasing a victory target of 259, Indian Women team scored 255 runs 8 wickets in 50 overs. For Australia, Annabel Sutherland picked up three wickets. Richa Ghosh with 96 runs was the highest scorer for India.

Electing to bat first, the visitors made 258 for 8 in their allotted 50 overs. Phoebe Litchfield scored 63 runs and  Ellyse Perry hit a half-century. For India, Deepti Sharma took 5 wickets.

With this victory, Australian team has won the series as they had defeated India by 6 wickets in the first match. The last match of the series will be played on 2nd January, 2024.

In a game of roller-coaster emotions, Australia managed to handle Richa Ghosh’s valiant 96, her highest score in ODIs, to beat India by three runs in the second ODI at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday (December 30). Chasing a challenging target of 259 on a spinning surface, India were cruising at 218/4 with Richa closing on her maiden ODI ton but her dismissal kickstarted a collapse of epic proportions as Australia closed out the series with a game to spare.

Opting to bat on a different surface, Australia got off to a scratchy start with both openers struggling to put bat on ball. With the pitch evidently slower than the opening game and a much tighter opening spell from India’s bowlers, the visitors lacked impetus in the first ten overs. However, a couple of dropped catches and a review not taken meant that India weren’t able to gain the early advantage. Pooja Vastrakar in particular bowled with a lot of verve and she deservedly broke the opening stand by cleaning up a struggling Alyssa Healy. The Australian skipper never got going at all.

Phoebe Litchfield, who got a major chunk of the early lives, brought up her second successive fifty of the series along with Ellyse Perry who also equalled the feat. Their 77-run stand wasn’t as ferocious as in the previous game but that also had to do with the sluggish nature of the track. Perry was the enforcer once again while young Litchfield worked her way through the innings. However, once the ball got older, there was noticeable grip off the pitch and stroke-making became increasingly difficult. Perry fell to a long hop and that dismissal opened the floodgates for the hosts to sneak back into the game.

With extravagant spin on offer, especially from one end, India’s spinners led by Deepti Sharma spun a web around the Aussie batters. Sneh Rana and debutant Shreyanka Patil played ideal support roles as the tourists’ scoring rate dipped considerably in the middle overs. Only 73 runs came between overs 22-40 for the loss of five wickets as India got into the box seat with some disciplined bowling. The same, however, cannot be said of their fielding as a plethora of catches went down. It hurt them eventually as Australia got past 250 thanks to a late cameo from Alana King (28 off 17) who was also a beneficiary of a dropped catch. A whopping 18 runs came off the 50th over and it lifted Australia’s score to an above par range.

Knowing that scoring would get tougher against the older ball, India started the chase on a positive note with Smriti Mandhana’s 38-ball 34 giving the right start to the home side. But Australia held their composure and tightened things up after an erratic initial spell with the new ball. Despite a solid 88-run stand between Jemimah Rodrigues and Richa, the hosts weren’t allowed to run away with the scoring rate. Both batters did play it smart and took calculated risks to take the game forward. Richa, though, took a lot of time to get going as she struggled to get to terms with the pace of the pitch till later on. But once she did, the wicket-keeper batter made amends with some robust hitting.

Jemimah was her silky self in strokeplay and manipulated the fields effectively to complement Richa’s brute power at the other end. India weren’t coasting but still had the base to get the chase covered. But that also meant that Australia were always in with a chance if they broke the partnership and once Jemimah fell, there was an opportunity to bounce back for the world champions. Richa, now struggling with cramps, opened up with some powerful strokes but her injury meant that strike rotation wasn’t smooth. It also didn’t help India’s cause that Deepti Sharma never found her tempo with the bat in hand.

Australia, like they so often do, squeezed and took the game deep before inflicting a sensational collapse. Richa fell a hit away from a deserving century and her dismissal was just the tonic needed for Healy’s girls to turn the tables. Annabel Sutherland had an excellent game with the ball, more so at the death while the spinners all chipped in with timely breakthroughs although King was a touch expensive. The major difference, however, was in the catching and while Australia also missed a few dollies in the field, those weren’t as differential as India’s.

Brief scores: Australia 258/8 in 50 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 63, Ellyse Perry 50; Deepti Sharma 5-38) lost to India 255/8 in 50 overs (Richa Ghosh 96, Jemimah Rodrigues 44; Annabel Sutherland 3-47, Georgia Wareham 2-39) by three runs.

 

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