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Women’s Cricket: World Champions Australia pocketed three-match T20I series 2-1.

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A thoroughly professional all-round show from Australia saw them register a thumping seven-wicket win over India in the T20I series decider at the DY Patil Stadium on Tuesday (January 9). By virtue of this result, the World Champions pocketed the three-match series 2-1.

Fifties from Alyssa Healy (55 off 38) and Beth Mooney (52* off 45) made short work of the run chase with India’s total of 147 clearly proving to be about 15-20 runs short. The win, though, was set up by Australia’s bowling, notably Annabel Sutherland (2-12) and Georgia Wareham (2-24), to restrict the home side.

Put into bat, India did get off to a brisk start through their openers. Shafali Verma showed great intent and seemed in fine touch, as did her partner Smriti Mandhana at the other end. Crucially for them, the shot selection matched their intent for the first few overs as India got off to a flying start. Shafali dished out some of her trademark ball-striking while Mandhana was all touch in her strokeplay. Australia were under pressure initially but as they do so often, bounced back once the partnership was broken. The middle overs were dominated by the visitors who struck at regular intervals to disrupt India’s momentum.Shafali fell to a sharp catch from Healy standing up to the stumps while Mandhana holed out to the deep after looking in ominous touch. In between their dismissals, the short ball ploy got rid of Jemimah Rodrigues cheaply and it was followed by yet another failure from Harmanpreet Kaur. Deepti Sharma also fell after a scratchy little innings.

The Indian innings nosedived and seemed set for another underwhelming finish. However, Richa Ghosh and Amanjot Kaur added 36 off just 27 balls to infuse some life into the innings. The innings also got the perfect finish with Pooja Vastrakar slamming the final ball for a six.

However, 147 was still an under-par score and the Aussie openers proved it very early with Healy going great guns in the powerplay. She started slowly before unleashing her power game against all the bowlers. Having endured a very underwhelming tour by her standards, the Australian captain managed to sign off in style.

Beth Mooney took her time and compiled a fifty of her own as the visitors cruised in the run chase. There was a moment of controversy with the score at 60/0 when Healy slashed one to point for Rodrigues to take a catch and it looked good enough in real time. But the third umpire after numerous replays seemed hesitant to rule it out and Healy got a lucky reprieve.

As if to rub salt into the wounds of India’s players, Healy continued to cut loose before falling to Deepti. There was a brief moment of joy for the home side when Vastrakar removed Tahlia McGrath and Ellyse Perry off successive deliveries but the game was virtually over by then. Mooney held one end up and the in-form Phoebe Litchfield finished off things quickly to give one more silverware to the Australian side.

After being 0-1 down in the series and strangely inconsistent across the first two games, Healy’s side came to the fore when it mattered, like they frequently do in high-pressure games.

Brief scores: India 147/7 in 20 overs (Richa Ghosh 34, Smriti Mandhana 29; Annabel Sutherland 2-12, Georgia Wareham 2-24) lost to Australia 149/3 in 18.4 overs (Alyssa Healy 55, Beth Mooney 52*; Pooja Vastrakar 2-26) by 7 wickets.

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