A 5-wicket haul from left-arm orthodox spinner Jess Jonassen helped Australia defeat India by 11 runs in the final at the Junction Oval in Melbourne on Wednesday and clinch the women’s tri-nation series.
Chasing a stiff target of 156 runs, India were bowled out for 144 following a dismal batting performance. Other than Smriti Mandhana’s 66 off 37 balls no Indian batswoman were able to cross the 20-run mark with the highest being 17 by rookie Richa Ghosh.
After losing the first wicket in the second over itself, Ghosh and Mandhana steadied the ship for a brief period before the former went back to the pavilion.
Coming in at 4, Jemimah Rodrigues failed to have any impact and departed for a paltry score of 2. Joining Mandhana at the middle, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur showed some intent and hung in there to play the perfect second fiddle to her partner.
Mandhana did all the hard work and managed to keep Indian alive at the chase. She completed her 10th T20I fifty and built a 50-run stand with Harmanpreet before Megan Schutt got her caught by Nicola Grey to shatter India’s hope.
After she departed, the rest of the batting fell like a pack of cards as Harmanpreet (14), too, succumbed under the pressure. India lost their last seven wickets for just 29 runs.
For Australia Jonassen was the star of the pack with her figure of 5/12, while Tayla Vlaeminck took 2/32. Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and Annabell Sutherland contributed with a wicket each.
Earlier, after winning the toss, Australia put up a formidable total of 155/6 riding on an unbeaten 72 from opener Beth Mooney. Ashleigh Gardner and captain Meg Lanning also contributed with 26 runs each.
However, it was a nice, little cameo from Rachael Haynes who scored 18 runs from just 7 balls and provided Australia with a total which they defended successfully in the end.
India and now face Australia in the T20 World Cup opener on February 21.
(With IANS inputs)