Mumbai : Star all-rounder Ellyse Perry (47 off 75), Grace Harris ( 41 off 18) and a disciplined performance with the ball guided Australia Women to a convincing 21-run win in the third T20I against India and a 2-1 lead in the five-match series at Brabourne Stadium, here on Wednesday.
Batting first, Australia posted 172 for 8 in 20 overs. In reply, India were restricted to 151 for 7 despite a 41-ball 52 by Shafali Verma. Chasing a challenging total, last game’s star performer Smriti Mandhana struggled to get going before she got out to Darcie Brown for 1 off 10.
After her wicket, Shafali and Jemimah Rodrigues struck regular boundaries to maintain the required run-rate. Rodrigues (16) struck three fours off Annabel Sutherland but couldn’t continue longer and got out to Brown in the 5th over.
Shafali, who was dropped by Ashleigh Gardner off Megan Schutt, helped India to 41/2 at the end of the powerplay. After the end of powerplay, Shafali became more aggressive and hit a six off Alana King followed by three fours in a Nicola Carey over.
She along with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur took to 79/2 at the halfway stage of their innings. Harmanpreet, who was reprieved by a missed stumping in a King over, capitalised on the missed chance by striking two fours in the next King over.
On the other hand, Shafali got a lucky break in the 13th over as she hit a Brown delivery to extra cover, with Tahlia McGrath taking a diving catch, but the bowler had overstepped.
The opener brought up a 39-ball fifty but Australia hit back with quick wickets as Carey had Shafali caught at deep mid wicket while Gardner picked up the wickets of Devika Vaidya and Richa Ghosh in the same over.
Eventually, India needed 51 off the last four overs but they fell well short of the target as Australia kept the hosts in check, with Schutt bagging the important wicket of Harmanpreet in the 17th over.
Gardner gave away only three runs in the 18th over and despite Deepti Sharma striking three fours of Carey in 19th, 27 off the final over was too big a task for India. Earlier, put into bat, Perry was the backbone of Australia’s batting effort.
She came to bat at No.4 as early as the second over as Renuka Singh and Anjali Sarvani bagged the wickets of Alyssa Healy and McGrath respectively. Australia were reeling 5/2 but Perry and Beth Mooney led the recovery through a 64-run partnership.
Both Perry and Mooney dealt in regular boundaries as they helped Australia collect 43 in the powerplay. Mooney finally got out to Vaidya for 30 off 22 and the leg-spinner also got rid of Ashleigh Gardner. But, Perry wasn’t deterred by the quick wickets as she continued positively, bringing up a 33-ball fifty.
The veteran all-rounder found an able ally in Harris who struck sixes off Sarvani and Rajeshwari Gayakwad to get going. They put on a brisk half-century stand before Sarvani ended Perry’s knock in the 17th over before she was hit for two fours by Harris as Australia went past 150.
Deepti dismissed Sutherland cheaply but she also conceded a couple of boundaries. Harris’s blitz eventually came to an end in the 19th over. Thereafter, Deepti dismissed Carey in the final over and gave away only five runs despite being hit for a boundary off the last ball by Alana King as Australia were kept under 175.
Brief scores: Australia 172/8 in 20 overs (Ellyse Perry 75, Grace Harris 41; Renuka Singh 2-24) beat India 151/7 in 20 overs (Shafali Verma 52, Harmanpreet Kaur 37; Darcie Brown 2-19) by 21 runs.