India faced the second defeat and a series loss in the second ODI against Australia by three runs as the Sutherland-Litchfield duo stole the show as the former bagged the Player of the Match award.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat first, and Alyssa Healy and Phoebe Litchfield were walking down the ground to get the play commenced. The first over by Renuka Singh was just a single slip with Litchfield getting off the mark on an opportunity of catch which in turn gifted her a complementary boundary in the following over. Healy too was up with a four in the fourth over.
Things were pulled up well till the seventh over as Litchfield concluded it with a four but the eighth and ninth over it all slowed down suddenly which cost Healy her early wicket as Pooja Vastrakar did the magic on the first ball of the tenth over. But in lieu of the final over of the powerplay, new down Ellyse Perry and Litchfield both summed up the same with a boundary each.
Indian bowlers in the likes of Amanjot Kaur, Vastrakar and Shreyanka Patil started trying to give a check to the raging Australian top order, but Healy came up with the first maximum of the match meanwhile. The bowlers were doing their job well which brought the run rate down a bit but despite that, the duo managed to get on to their fifty-run partnership in the 19th over.
As the batters were unable to get the required momentum, the pressure somewhat cost Perry’s wicket in the 24th over after a sumptuous knock of 50. And that further saw the cleverly-going Litchfield crawling up to her fifty with a fantastic boundary on the first ball of the 27th over. Next down the line to get succumbed much early was Beth Mooney as Deepti Sharma came up with a confident appeal of LBW.
This somewhat churned Australia and their confidence of going big on the scoreboard and then there was another wicket on the last ball of the 34th over in the name of Litchfield after much struggle between the wickets. Australia were 166 for 4 after 35 overs of play as McGrath summed up the same with a much-needed boundary but that couldn’t add up more to the innings as Ashleigh Gardner met her dismissal on the very first ball of the 37th over.
And things started looking far for Australia for even an average total with McGrath’s wicket in the 40th over to make conditions worse. Although Georgia Wareham started in a valiant way to undone India’s efforts with a four in the 43rd over and a six in the 45th over but she too couldn’t make it to the end of the innings as Deepti Sharma bounced back stronger with two wickets in the same over, Wareham (22 off 20) and Annabel Sutherland (23 off 29).
Despite such chokes, Alana King managed to provide some additional spice to the somewhat cooked innings with her three giant sixes to freeze the scoreboard at 258 squeezing out 18 off the last over the highest in the innings. India needed 259 from 300 balls. And there was the Bhatia-Mandhana duo kicking the chase off on a bizarre note with Mandhana starting her game with a four and then a six in the third over.
Determination. Grit. Belief @13richaghosh came out all guns blazing & nearly powered #TeamIndia to victory with a stunning 96 👏👏#INDvAUS | @IDFCFIRSTBank— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) December 30, 2023
Sit back and relive Richa Ghosh's resilient knock 🎥🔽https://t.co/MmwB7m0buz
Although was looking poised she met her early dismissal in the seventh over as Garth provided her a LBW. Mandhana and new-down Richa Ghosh tried to keep the chase simple to the board with constant running between the wickets but Mandhana couldn’t make it longer than 34 off 38 with King got the breakthrough for her team. Jemimah Rodrigues, coming at number four showed some poignant way of batting and skill to get the game going with timely singles, doubles and boundaries.
As things looked stable by the 33rd over with India standing at 159 for the loss of 2, the chase seemed to be an easier one as both the batters Rodrigues and Ghosh had got the hold of the momentum. But Wareham turned out to have the upper hand for Australia dismissing Rodrigues on the very first ball of the 34th over at 44 off 55 balls. And there was another choke for India with the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s sudden quick dismissal in the 36th over.
Ghosh, on the other hand, was playing fantastically safe, steady and streamlined with a fabulous show of boundaries in the 40th and 41st over but her long-standing feud with the Australian attack finally laid off in the 44th over at a meticulously played 96 off 117 balls which was followed by Amanjot Kaur’s wicket in a quick succession in the 46th over.
Vastrakar tried to pull the chase up with a four on the fifth ball of the 47th over but couldn’t make it fruitful as she had to give her wicket away on the fourth ball of the 48th over. And the results were almost out with Harleen Deol getting out on the last ball of the 49th over. Although the last and finalizing over started and summed up with a boundary each India fell short of three agonizing runs to end up losing the series.
Brief scores: India vs Australia 2nd ODI
Australia 258/8 in 50 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 63, Ellyse Perry 50; Deepti Sharma 5-38) lost to India 255/8 in 50 overs (Richa Ghosh 96, Jemimah Rodrigues 44; Annabel Sutherland 3-47, Georgia Wareham 2-39) by three runs.