Darcie Brown, Australia Batters Hand India A 9-wicket Defeat

Australia

Darcie Brown, Australia Batters Hand India A 9-wicket Defeat

Rachael Haynes’ unbeaten 93 and Alyssa Healy’s run a ball 77 helped Australia to take their winning streak to 25 matches before seamers restricted India to a modest total. Despite Mithali Raj’s 61 and brisk innings from debutant Richa Ghosh, India was below par when setting up a target, as impressive Australian pacers Darcie Brown and Darlington showed their prominence.

Australia on their way to the 25th consecutive win won the toss and asked India to bat first. Shefali Verma started with a boundary against Perry in the 2nd ball of the innings through the cover. Perry who was recovering from an injury looked rusty in her opening spell. She failed to control the line and conceded a couple of wide. Though she tried to exploit Verma’s weakness against short pitch delivery, it was not a day for her. She conceded 10, followed by 16 runs over, where Smriti Mandhana punished her for throwing down the leg.

On the contrary, speed sensation Darcie Brown filled the shoes of her WBBL senior Megan Schutt from the other end. With her face and ability to gain the bounce from the pitch, she troubled the Indian openers from her first over. When it seemed like India was rushing with 31/0 after three overs, she removed both the openers, in her consecutive overs.

Verma fell to a short pitch ball that was going down the leg for 8. Shafali looked to pull from just under her shoulder height but gets a feather through to the keeper. In the next over, Smriti Mandhana went for the drive. It was fuller outside off going across her, and she drove with feet not really moving much, bat well away from the body. Haynes, who said that she want to contribute in the field as she doesn’t ball, at the point made no mistake. Darcie who made her WBBL debut with 3/13, was rewarded for not giving away any room as Indian batters find it difficult to negate the ball hurled at their body.

Yastika Bhatia who was making her debut came out to bat at no three showed promise. After losing two quick wickets Mithali and Bhatia tried the fix things for India. While Mithali scored her first run after facing 13 balls, she was troubled by McGrath repeatedly. Even when Perry was brought back by Meg Lanning, one of her balls hit Mithali Raj on the helmet.

Lanning made life harder for the batters by changing bowlers repeatedly. Within 22 overs she used all the seven bowlers at her disposal. While Yastika and Mithali made a useful contribution of 77 for 2nd wicket it took almost 21 overs to reach that. Both of them consumed dots one after another while failed to score boundaries. At the same time, they failed to run hard and convert the singles and doubles which gave Australians a space to breathe. When it seemed like this partnership could take India to a good total, Darcie strike again.

She was brought back into the action and in her first ball, she removed Yastika. Yastika went for the drive and Haynes at the point was too trusted to drop. She scored 35 from 51 with two boundaries. Mithali showed some intent in the middle while dancing down the track against the spinners. Deepti became Brown’s 4th victim, while Mithali hit a couple of boundaries against Brown and Molineux on her way to the 5th consecutive half-century.

Mithali flicked one through square leg against Darcie Brown to bring up her 5th consecutive half-centuries in ODI in 92 balls. When it seemed like Mithali would increase the strike rate, Molineux removed her. She danced down the track to hoick her, but the bounce deceived her and Healy completed the formalities.  The third indigenous cricketer to play for Australia, Hannah Darlington joined the party. Vastrakar and Sneh Rana fell to her.

It looked like that India would struggle to get past the two-hundred mark. But another debutant Richa Ghosh who kept wicket for India joined Jhulan Goswami. They took time before unleashed their beast mood. Ghosh hit Molineux for two boundaries while Jhulan showed her skill too. 11 runs came from 48th over, while 49th produced 17 runs. McGrath conceded a sixes apiece against Richa and Jhulan. Due to their innings, India managed to reach a total of 225 at the loss of 8 wickets.

Chasing a modest total of 226, Australia started cautiously. Jhulan Goswami and debutant Meghna Singh maintained the line and length, while the pitch offered some swing. Meghna showed prominence in her opening spell where she troubled the ace batters.  Healy showed her true colour against Pooja Vastrakar, scoring 16 runs from that. And Australian innings gained the momentum from that, from where they never looked back. Sensing the trouble, Mithali brought in spinners. But of no use. Healy used her feet or stayed back to tackle the Indian spinners. Rather than bisecting the fielders for boundaries, both the batters ran hard. This created pressure on the fielders who missed the opportunities.

Healy hit a six against Poonam Yadav to reach a run a ball 77 but fell in the next ball. Crafted with 8 boundaries and 2 sixes Healy completed 2000 runs in ODI. Healy is the first woman to reach 2,000 at a 100+ strike rate. And she took the fewest ball to reach the landmark.  A stand of 126 runs in 21 overs sealed the match for Australia. Indian spinners once again failed the created pressure in the middle overs, as they have failed against South Africa and England.

Meg Lanning who was playing 200 international matches for Australia, joined Racheal Haynes who was batting on 43. As she sweep Yadav for a boundary she reached her half-century in 55 balls. Lanning too started with a boundary and continued to score at a brisk pace. Meghna and Poonam Yadav conceded a couple of boundaries in the consecutive overs. Though Sneh Rana and Deepti Sharma tried the flow of the runs, both of the batters easily rotated the strike. Lanning drove a low full toss and gets the drive wide of mid-off to bring up her half-century in 67 balls, while Haynes sent the ball to the boundary in the last bowl of Jhulan’s over to seal the victory. Haynes hit 7 boundaries on her way to an unbeaten 93 from 100 balls.

The unbeaten 101 run partnership of Haynes and Lanning sealed the match for Australia with 9 wickets to spare. Jhulan Goswami was economical in her 10 overs where she conceded 38 runs. In contrary to the Australian spinners Indian spinners were neither able to pick the wicket nor created pressure in the middle overs. Deepti conceded 31 in 4 overs where Sneh Rana went for 46 in 9 overs. Poonam Yadav though picked up the wicket of Healy, she didn’t look as effective as she was before the pandemic.

Brief Score: India 225/8 ( Mithali Raj 61, Yastika Bhatia 35, Richa Ghosh 31*, Darcie Brown 4/33, Hannah Darlington 2/29) lost to Australia 227/1 (Rachael Haynes 93*, Alyssa Healy 77, Meg Lanning 53*, Poonam Yadav 1/58) by 9 wickets.