Indian players celebrate the win against Australia at DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai, on Dec 11, 2022 (PTI Photo)
Smriti Mandhana sizzled in regulation time as well as the super over to script a famous win for India against the mighty Australia in a high-scoring second women’s T20 International here on Sunday.
Tahlia McGrath (70 not out off 51) and Beth Mooney (82 not out off 54) tore into the Indian bowling attack with their belligerent knocks to power Australia 187 for one after the visitors were asked to bat.
In front of a packed D Y Patil Stadium, India were able to take the match right down to the wire after a whirlwind 76-run opening wicket stand between Mandhana (79 off 49) and Shafali Verma (34 0ff 23).
India needed 14 off the last over bowled by Megan Schutt and Devika Vaidya managed to find two fours to reach 187 for 5 and tie the game, forcing the game into the Super Over.
The home team put on 20 runs in the super over bowled by Heather Graham, thanks to a six and four from Mandhana after Richa Ghosh smashed the first ball for a maximum.
Renuka Thakur was able to defend that total under extreme pressure after getting rid of Alyssa Healy, handing Australia their first loss of the year.
The thrilling finish meant Indian women finally ended up on the right side of the result in a tense finish. It was also the first time that India featured in a game that was stretched to the super over.
With India’s win, the five-match series is levelled 1-1.
Earlier in the run chase, Mandhana changed gears after the fall of Shafali who was caught at extra cover off leg spinner Alana King.
Mandhana then shared a 61-run stand with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur who struggled for 22-ball 21. Mandhana’s off side play was a treat to watch as usual but she got the bulk of the runs over the midwicket region.
She dispatched a full toss from King over deep mid wicket for a maximum before slog-sweeping her for a four to bring her half century. Her sublime knock brought the equation down to 55 runs off the last 30 balls.
After hitting a flat straight six off Sutherland in the 17th over, Mandhana fell to an avoidable shot. When she was executing her strokes in front of the wicket perfectly, she walked across the stumps for a paddle stroke and ended up disturbing her stumps.
Richa Ghosh came and hit a barrage of sixes, three to be precise, to stun the opposition and reduced the equation to a very gettable 18 off 12 balls.
After asking Australia to bat considering the dew factor, Indian bowlers were not able to put any sort of pressure on the rampaging visitors.
McGrath and opener Mooney shared an entertaining 158-run stand off 99 balls for their second successive 100-plus stand. The partnership was highest ever for Australia for any wicket in T20s.
Like the series opener, the hosts were able to take only one wicket in the innings.
Alyssa Healy (25 off 15) was the sole batter to be dismissed when she was caught at backward point off spinner Deepti Sharma.
Barring Deepti, all the other bowlers were taken to the cleaners by McGrath and Mooney.
Left-hander Mooney collected 13 fours while McGrath smashed 10 fours and a six. While Mooney was more conventional in her stroke making, McGrath used the long handle well.
They scored boundaries at will, making the Indian attack look toothless.
Australia skipper Healy looked in menacing touch as well before getting out against the run of play.