Recent Match Report – India (W) vs AUS WMN 1st T20I 2023/24

India 145 for 1 (Shafali 64*, Mandhana 54, Wareham 1-20) beaten Australia 141 (Litchfield 49, Sadhu 4-17, Patil 2-19) by nine wickets

Friday night was a story of a young fast bowler and two experienced openers who helped India take a 1-0 lead in the series in Navi Mumbai against Australia. It was a dominant performance led by Titas Sadhu's sensational four-wicket haul that bowled Australia out for 141 before Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana made the chase easy.

Sadhu picked three wickets in the powerplay to get through the visitors, who lost four wickets in five runs. Australia fought back through Phoebe Litchfield and Ellyse Perry, but after Amanjot Kaur broke that position in the 15th over, another collapse followed.

Shafali and Mandhana then led the Australian bowlers with assured half-centuries which helped seal a nine-wicket victory with 14 balls remaining.

Sadhu takes Australia back

After India opted to play the toss, Renuka Singh Thakur played a tight first over. But Beth Mooney got aggressive and Australia moved to 26 without loss in three overs. This was when Sadhu, a late addition to the XI, was introduced.

Bowling a tidy line and length from the start, Sadhu gave away just two runs from his first four balls, including a missed review from behind. But she got her wicket soon after when Mooney misled a skier which Harmanpreet Kaur caught while backtracking at mid-off. A struggling Alyssa Healy then hit Renuka for four before gifting Harmanpreet another catch at mid-off.

Sadhu then tied up Tahlia McGrath, throwing four runs, including an edge that fell just short of the slip cordon. With the pressure mounting, McGrath tried to go backwards to an outswinger only to deceive it at third. In a rare miscue opportunity, Sadhu greeted Ashleigh Gardner with a wide, but then took advantage by taking the catch on the follow-up to complete a near-perfect powerplay performance.

Litchfield and Perry launch their comeback

From a position of 33 for 4, Litchfield and Perry then dug in even as Sadhu almost struck again when Richa Ghosh couldn't catch a misguided reverse slap from Litchfield. The pair took off in the tenth over against Vastrakar, with Litchfield playing a pick-up then rolling over to cover the next ball.

Perry finished the over with a majestic pull behind square and the runs also continued against Shreyanka Patil and Deepti Sharma. Litchfield, who was in stunning form in the ODIs, then disdainfully hit Amanjot for consecutive sixes. But as the partnership turned dangerous, Amanjot hit back with a slower ball. Litchfield only found it halfway, missing a fifty.

Another collapse

When Perry hit another six – and with Grace Harris at the other end – it looked like Australia would not slow down, making the most of their batting depth, but Patil trapped Harris lbw next ball as she was missing a reverse sweep.

Only seven runs were scored in the next two overs before Sadhu returned. Annabel Sutherland bowled her for a six – the only boundary she conceded – before Sadhu got revenge by having Sutherland caught at mid-off. She became the youngest Indian to take a four-wicket haul in T20Is and also took four catches for Harmanpreet.

Deepti then collected Perry and trapped Megan Schutt lbw in a two-wicket over. Patil finished the innings with the tenth wicket to leave India chasing 142. The last four wickets cost just six runs.

A walk to Shafali, Mandhana

With a below-par target, Australia needed a good start with the ball but it just didn't happen as a wayward Darcie Brown gave away two fours bye and five more wides in the leg.

With 14 on the board in an over, Shafali drove Schutt through the covers from the first ball she faced. Next, Mandhana pulled Sutherland for six, before Shafali took two more boundaries off Schutt. Shafali also hit a straight six off Sutherland in the sixth over as India raced to 59 for no loss at the end of the power play.

With almost no running pressure, Shafali and Mandhana moved comfortably. Shafali, who recently came under the radar for a dip in form and was also ruled out of the last two ODIs, reached her half-century off 32 balls, after hammering McGrath for six and four.

Mandhana completed a run-a-ball fifty herself before a brutal catch from McGrath at long-off ended her knock. The 137-run stand saw Shafali hit six fours and three sixes, while Mandhana helped herself with seven fours and sixes.

By the time Mandhana fell in the 16th over, India needed just five more and Australia were condemned to only their fourth T20I defeat by nine wickets (or more).

Abhimanyu Bose is a sub-editor at gamereviewguru

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