A resurgent India Women produced a spotless effort to crush Australia by nine wickets in the first T20I and take a vital 1-0 lead in the three-match series in Navi Mumbai on Friday. After Titas Sadhu’s career-best figures of four for 17 helped India dismiss Australia for a mere 141, openers Smriti Mandhana (54) and Shafali Verma (64 not out off 44 balls) tore into the visitors with a 137-run stand to deliver an outstanding win for their side at the DY Patil Stadium.
Having missed the last two ODIs against Australia, Shafali stroked her way to her fifth half-century in T20Is, smashing six fours and three sixes with commanding strokes all around the park.
Mandhana too was in her elements, hitting her 27th fifty overall and seventh against Australia, a knock studded with seven fours and a six.
The openers separated only when they were one hit away from getting over the line, but not before etching India’s second-best stand for the first wicket.
India finished the match in 17.4 overs, and it was also their biggest win over Australia by margin of wickets.
It was also only the third time Australia lost a T20I by this margin.
Putting their best fielding effort across all matches this home season, India not only showed remarkable improvement but remained clinical throughout to not allow Australia even a sniff.
Sadhu was not the only Indian to enjoy the high of an individual milestone – for she produced the second-best figures for any Indian bowler in T20Is against Australia after Jhulan Goswami’s 5 for 11 over a decade ago.
Mandhana became only the second Indian batter after skipper Harmanpreet Kaur – and sixth overall in women’s T20Is – to have crossed the 3,000-run mark.
The victory at the start of this three-match rubber also sets up India Women perfectly to have a crack at a series win – something they have never done at home against Australia.
For that matter, India have only beaten Australia once in a bilateral T20I series, emerging a 2-1 winner on their 2015-16 tour.
Chasing a modest 142, India made quite an eccentric start, logging in 14 runs in the first over but none coming off the bat.
Australian seamer Darcie Brown peppered most of her deliveries down the leg, with two brushing Mandhana’s pads to run down the boundary ropes while one beating everyone on its way for four byes.
Shafali immaculately cracked a four through cover off Megan Schutt off the first ball she faced.
Mandhana too cashed in on a short ball from Annabel Sutherland to smack it over midwicket for the first six of the innings to get going.
Earlier, Sadhu’s four-for was complemented well by Deepti Sharma’s 2/24 and Shreyanka Patil 2/19 as India restricted Aussies to a below-par total.
While Sadhu rocked Australia with a three-wicket opening burst, Phoebe Litchfield (49) and Ellyse Perry (37) led the fightback for the visitors with a 79-run stand for the fifth wicket.
However, Australia, who lost wickets in clusters on either side of that stand, were bowled out in 19.2 overs.
Sadhu returned 3-0-8-3 in her first spell in the powerplay, accounting for Beth Mooney (17), Tahlia McGrath (0) and Ashleigh Gardner (0).
The 19-year-old right-arm pacer then returned for her final over – 18th of the innings – and found further success dismissing Annabel Sutherland (12) for her fourth scalp.
Having topped the batting chart in the ODIs, the left-handed Litchfield carried her form into the shortest format but fell short of a fifty. She smoked three sixes and four fours to make 49 from 32 balls.
Perry struck two fours and as many sixes to make 37 off 30 balls and was one of the two dismissals for Deepti, who showed great control.
The only blip for India, however, came in the 12th over when a mistimed reverse-sweep off Litchfield’s bat fell between Renuka Singh Thakur and Jemimah Rodrigues with both the fielders ending up looking at each other.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article