Melbourne, Feb 8 : A dynamic batting performance from top order led India to a seven-wicket win over Australia in the women's T20 tri-series, here on Saturday. The victory moved India to the second position in the points table, behind England and kept their hopes alive for a place in the final of the tri-series.
The winner of the final league match between Australia and England on Sunday will decide the finalists for the title clash on February 12. Australia posted 173 for 5 courtesy a 57-ball 93 from Ashleigh Gardner and Meg Lanning's 22- ball 37 after Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and elected to field at the Junction Oval.
India then chased the target in 19.4 overs, with opener Shafali Verma scoring 49 off 28 balls and Mandhana made 55 off 48 balls. This was their highest successful run-chase in women's T20Is, eclipsing the seven-wicket victory against South Africa in Potchefstroom in February 2018, when they scaled the 165-run target with seven balls to spare. Needing 174 to win, openers Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana gave the visitors an explosive start.
Verma was the aggressor in the half-century opening stand, taking on the bowlers right from the first over. She quickly raced away to 49 off just 28 balls in the ninth over and fell just one run short of what could have been her third T20I fifty when Ellyse Perry's brilliance gave Australia their first breakthrough. Despite Verma's departure, India barely slowed down. Mandhana combined with Jemimah Rodrigues and shared a quick 37-run partnership before Rodrigues was caught behind on 30 off Megan Schutt. (UNI)