The Indian women’s cricket team gave its all in the second T20I against Australia on Sunday but lost the match. Deepti Sharma’s all-round effort went in vain as Australia cantered to a six-wicket win against India in the second women’s T20 to level the three-match series here on Sunday. After India’s frontline batters cut a sorry figure squandering starts, Deepti made a vital 31 to push the team’s total to 130/8. She then produced a fine spell of 4-0-22-2 to delight a nearly-packed house here at the DY Patil Stadium, but India just did not have enough on the board to challenge Australia.

With 15 needed to win off 12 balls, Phoebe Litchfield (18 not out off 12 balls, 3x4s) struck two fours in first three balls of the penultimate over from Shreyanka Patil to dash India’s hopes. Playing her 300th international game across formats, the legendary Ellyse Perry celebrated the feat with a fine knock of 34 not out (21 balls, 3x4s, 2x6s) and took Australia over the line with a six to win the game.

After the match, former India men’s cricket team star Dodda Ganesh’s post on India captain Harmanpreet Kaur post-match comments went viral. “Throwing a 19yo kid under the bus is not done #INDvAUS,” Ganesh, who played four Tests and one ODI, wrote on X.

He was commenting on another X post which quotes Harmanpreet as saying: “In 19th over, if Shreyanka was on target, it would have made a huge difference for us.”

Talking about the matches, Australia knocked off 47 runs from the target in the powerplay with both Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy (26) facing no difficulties against the Indian bowlers.

But Patil took a spectacular diving catch to help get rid of Healy in the eighth over for India’s first success off Deepti.

Patil, at long on, ran a few paces in front of her and put in a dive as she collected the ball.

It was Deepti again getting the second breakthrough with Mooney (20 off 29 balls, 2x4s) being stumped in the 10th over.

The series decider will now be played on Tuesday here at the same venue.

Earlier, with the batters failing to convert starts, India ended up with a below-par total.

Smriti Mandhana (23), Richa Ghosh (23) and even Jemimah Rodrigues (13) could not capitalise after making promising starts.

But Deepti fought till the end to push the team’s total as far as she could, with wickets falling steadily from the other end.

Kim Garth (2/27) dealt an early blow to India trapping Shafali Verma (1) leg-before wickets and had further success getting an on-song Rodrigues who got off the blocks quickly with three fours.

Having smashed almost 10 runs per over in the powerplay during the first game, India could only manage a mere 33/2 with Mandhana hitting a few attractive strokes.

The India vice-captain flicked Garth over deep square leg for a six and another hit over the cover fell short of the boundary ropes for a four.

However, Mandhana could not control a short ball from Annabel Sutherland in the eighth over as she pulled one straight to Ellyse Perry at deep midwicket.

India’s misery compounded with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s (six off 12 balls) yet another failure with the bat.

Harmanpreet had a perfect opportunity to lift India out of doldrums but the captain perished on what has been her bread and butter shot — the sweep.

Ghosh smacked a massive six off Gardner in the same over but she too could not push on for a big score.

With all eyes fixated on the wicketkeeper-batter for a much-needed push, Ghosh was unable to connect a slower delivery from Georgia Wareham which struck her on the pads in front of the wickets.

Australia’s appeal was declined on the field and even Wareham felt the ball had pitched outside leg, but skipper Alyssa Healy went ahead with a DRS appeal which overturned in favour of the visitors.

Wareham went on to claim Pooja Vastrakar (9) for her second scalp in a fine spell of 4-0-17-2, but this time both the bowler and the skipper were on the same page for a correct DRS call.

With PTI inputs

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