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Sunday, February 5, 2023

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India ends Australia’s unbeaten run with Super Over win | Cricket

India has made a hash out of some easy chases in the past. But not on Sunday, as they matched Australia with the bat to win the second Women’s T20I via the Super Over and tie the five-match series at 1-1.

The match at DY Patil Stadium drew nearly a capacity crowd, with an attendance of over 47,000 witnessing Australia’s first defeat of the year in a variety of formats. India set the Aussies a target of 21 in the Super Over and then capped attendance to 16.

Renuka Singh kept the ball full and wide as skipper Harmanpreet Kaur placed fielders straight over the ground. The strategy worked, as the Australians could only manage six runs from the first four balls before Alyssa Healy hit a four and a six from the last two pitches. However, it was not enough for the Australians.

At the halfway point, when Australia set India a target of 188, it seemed an unlikely task for the hosts. But they stood their ground to tie the game.

Shafali Verma (34, 23b; 4x4s, 1x6s) laid the foundation with a 52-ball 76-run stand for the opening wicket with Smriti Mandhana. The southpaw continued the good work in the middle overs with her hitting of 79 off 49 balls, studded with nine fours and four sixes. She was involved in another 50-plus partnership with Skipper Kaur (21, 22b; 2x4s, 1x6s). India then lost them both in the space of six runs, but Richa Ghosh’s (26*, 13b; 3x6s) lusty blows and Devika Vaidya’s (11*) two fours in the last over saw India take the match to the Super Over.

Earlier, India appeared to have control of the ball by the end of the 12th, although they had made many mistakes in the field. Australia were 93/1, with Beth Mooney reaching only 22 from 26 balls and being repelled by Deepti Sharma.

But Mooney kicked on after that. The attack started when she hit three fours in the 13th over bowled by Radha Yadav and two over the next over delivered by Renuka Singh. The left-handed batter finished with 82 not out of 54 balls to begin her 15th T20I half century.

She and Tahila McGrath entered an unbeaten 158-run partnership for the second wicket, the highest for Australia for any wicket in T20Is, as they took a massive total of 187/1. While Mooney took her time to get her attention, McGrath made the chances count to make the scoreboard tick and finished unbeaten on 70 off 51 balls using 10 fours and a six.

The Indian fielders again let the bowlers down with missed chances and misfields. Keeper Richa Ghosh, standing against the stumps, dropped McGrath off the bowling of Anjali Sarvani, a left-arm medium pacer. McGrath was given another life when Sharma defeated her in flight, but the aerial shot went right through Radha Yadav’s hands at that moment.

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