The Indian bowlers put up a valiant effort with very few runs to defend before rookie Tahlia McGrath won the battle of nerves at the death, guiding Australia to a four-wicket victory in the second women’s T20I to clinch the multi-format series 9-5.
Batting first, India put up an inept performance, scoring only 118 for nine, largely due to a 37 off 26 balls by Pooja Vastrakar. Australia scored the runs in 19.1 overs, courtesy McGrath (42 not out off 33 balls), who took 14 runs off Shikha Pandey’s 18th over.
Renuka Singh’s inexperience also cost India dearly as the 19th over yielded 13 runs with McGrath, playing only in her second T20I, winning it for the hosts.
“We were 20 runs short on this track,” India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said after the game.
Pandey (1/27) bowled one that jagged back a long way to breach through Alyssa Healy’s (4) defence and after that it was Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who controlled the middle-overs by getting rid of Meg Lanning (15).
Earlier, Pooja Vastrakar gave a fine exhibition of power-hitting as her superb 36 not out off 27 balls took India to 118 after they were reeling at 81 for nine. Vastrakar, fondly called ‘Chota Hardik’ by Test skipper Mithali Raj, has come of age as an all-rounder on this tour. She hit three fours and two sixes at the back end to ensure that India don’t embarrass themselves on a track which was good for batting.
Interestingly, India were 81 for nine after the 17th over and in the last three overs, the tourists scored 37 with Vastrakar making all the runs in the company of Gayakwad.
Brief scores: India 118/9 (P. Vastrakar 37 n.o., H. Kaur 28, Molineux 2/11, Vlaeminck 2/18). Australia 119/6 in 19.1 overs (T. McGrath 42 n.o., B. Mooney 34, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 3/21). Australia won by four wickets.