Dominant Australia continue their reign as Champions with a 4-1 T20I series win over India. With Women’s IPL 2023 expected to start in March next year, the recently concluded India vs Australia five-match T20I series was a great spectacle of how exciting women’s cricket in India is and how much it could get. We witnessed people coming in high numbers to watch two of the best teams going head-to-head against each other.
The series also depicted the availability of potential and talented players in India and how the IPL will give rise to women’s cricket in the country. On that note, let’s analyze the series and how both teams fared. The World Champions Australia lived up to their expectations and the motive with which they came by clinching a dominating 4-1 series win over the hosts.
However, the scoreline doesn’t truly suggest how competitive the series actually was. The series turned out to be a high-scoring one, with both sides racking up huge totals and not giving anything easily to the opposition. India gave a tough time to Australia throughout the series, but the visitors held their nerves in crucial situations to come out on top and showcase why they are the best team in the world.
The series started with the Kangaroos clinching a nine-wicket victory where they chased 173 runs courtesy of a player of the match performance from No.1 T20I batter Beth Mooney (89* off 57 balls). She stitched a 100-run partnership with Tahlia McGrath to ensure a smooth path over the finish line. India set a decent total of 172 runs multiple players giving useful contributions. However, they were sloppy in the field and gave lifelines to Mooney and Tahlia early in their innings which saw the match slip out of their hand.
“I think 172 was enough. It was a decent total, and we were in the game till the 13th over. We created chances, but the fielding was not up to the mark. In night games, it is tough to judge the ball. Radha is one of our best fielders. Dew played a role. The bowlers tried their best. If we have to win, we have to take those chances,” said Harmanpreet Kaur in the post-match presentation.
Moving on to the second game, India managed to level the series 1-1 and handed Australia their first defeat across formats in 2022. Batting first, Australia set up a target of 188, with Beth Mooney (82* off 54 balls) and Tahlia McGrath (70* off 51 balls) being the stars again, stitching a 158-run unbeaten partnership (the highest for Australia for any wicket in T20Is).
Chasing this mammoth total, the versatile Smriti Mandhana stepped up on occasion scoring 79 off 49 balls, with Richa Ghosh applying the finishing touches with her 13-ball, 26-run knock. However, it was Devika Vaidya who smashed a boundary off the last ball when India needed five runs to win to take the match into a Super-over. Mandhana and Ghosh continued their momentum and scored 20 runs in the super over, to which the visitors could only manage 16.
With the series levelled on 1-1, the fans were in for a treat in the coming matches. Australia bounced back hard after a mini-setback with a comfortable 21-run victory. The great- Ellyse Perry was the star of the night for the Aussies, scoring 75 off 47 after a top-order collapse. For India, Shafali Verma and Harmanpreet Kaur tried their best to chase 173 runs but unfortunately fell short courtesy of a brilliant bowling display from Darcie Brown, who finished with the figures o 4-0-19-2. The hosts couldn’t click collectively, which cost them the match and go down 2-1 in the five-match series.
The fourth game was now a do-or-die for India, and they had to come out on top at any cost. Bowling first, they managed to restrict the Aussies to 46-2 inside the first seven overs, but Ashleigh Gardner and Elysse Perry took control of the Australian innings and stitched a 94-run third-wicket partnership before Grace Harris finished things off with her 12-ball, 27-run knock to help her side score 188/3.
In reply, India fell short by just seven runs despite 46 (30) by Harmanpreet Kaur and 19 balls 40* by Richa Ghosh. The difference of the game was the performance of Gardner, who scored 42* (27) and took two wickets, including one of Smriti Mandhana.
Last but not least, the final T20I was a dead rubber, with Australia already laying their hands on the trophy. Bowling first, India got off to a flyer and restricted Australia to 67-4, but Ashleigh Gardner and Grace Harris had other plans as they went on to accelerate post the 13th over, scoring 12, 14, 15, 10, 17, 13, and 12 off the last seven to register a gigantic total of 197. India came nowhere close to the chase as they lost the game by 54 runs.
Heather Graham was the star bowler registering a hat-trick in just her third game, while Garnder once again delivered an all-round show scoring 66* off 32 balls, taking two wickets, and also taking two catches. She ultimately went on to become the player of the tournament as she registered 115 runs and took seven wickets throughout the series.
Meanwhile, Beth Mooney was the leading run-getter of the series with 205 runs to her name in five innings at an average of 68.33, whereas Heather Graham was the leading wicket-taker with seven wickets in three innings. From India, Deepti Sharma was a key performer as she scored 128 runs at an average of 64 while taking six wickets. Richa Ghosh also showed her impressive hitting ability by striking at 179.37 in the series.
Overall, it was a great series where Australia showed a lot of composure and displayed how to handle things when going gets tough. The major reason for this has been the introduction of WBBL, and the same could be replicated in Indian cricket after the start of the inaugural franchise-based Women’s IPL in 2023.