India Women began their tour of Australia by pulling off their highest ever chase in T20 internationals, to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series in Adelaide. Before today, their best chase was 128 for 7 against New Zealand in Bangalore in July 2015, but Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy ensured that bar was raised by hauling in Australia Women’s 140 for 5 with eight balls to spare.
Australia did well to make as much as they did after getting sent in to bat. They lost opener Grace Harris for a duck to Jhulan Goswami in the first over, and their captain Meg Lanning was bowled by Shikha Pandey in the fourth, leaving them 2 for 17. The other opener Beth Mooney made a run-a-ball 36 on international debut and added 49 with Ellyse Perry before both of them fell in quick succession. When Jess Jonassen was bowled by Anuja Patil for 2, Australia were struggling at 5 for 81 in 15.4 overs.
They were lifted by Alyssa Healy’s blitz. She smacked 41 off 15 balls – her strike rate of 273 was the third best for a score of 30 or more in Women’s T20 internationals – and she added 59 off the last 26 balls with Alex Blackwell, who was unbeaten on 27 off 22. Healy hit Ekta Bisht for three fours in the 17th over, and then carted Niranjana Nagarajan for consecutive sixes and a four in the 19th to finish the innings powerfully.
India’s chase did not begin well either as Mithali Raj was caught for 4 in the second over. Smriti Mandhana and Krishnamurthy (35 off 32) steadied the innings with a 55-run stand for the second wicket, but Australia fought back with three quick strikes – reducing India to 4 for 91 in 14 overs.
Having come in at the fall of the second wicket, Kaur watched two big wickets fall at the other end, the equation boiling down to 50 runs off the last six overs. She had started slowly, scoring only 8 off her first 13 balls, but raised the pace quickly. Kaur struck a six and six fours in the space of 16 deliveries before her dismissal, leaving her team-mates with an easily achieveable equation.