India Women succumbed to their sixth consecutive defeat and eighth in a row at home despite recording the highest-ever ODI total against Australia, as the visitors registered a commanding six-wicket win in the first match in Mumbai on Thursday. Phoebe Litchfield (78) and Ellyse Perry (75) anchored the chase with a resolute 148-run stand for the second wicket as Australia replied with 285/4 in 46.3 overs to overhaul India’s 282/8 and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
As Phoebe and Ellyse fell in quick succession, Beth Mooney (42 from 47 balls, 4x4s) and Tahlia McGrath (68 not out, 55 balls, 11x4s) flattened India with their 88-run stand for the fourth wicket off only 67 balls.
Australia got over the line with 21 balls and six wickets to spare with none of the Indian bowlers able to make any impact.
India made a perfect start by dealing an early blow to Australia, who lost Alyssa Healy (0) in the first over when Sneh Rana flew to her left to take an acrobatic catch off Renuka Thakur.
But India could not capitalise further on the initial success as Australia ran away with the game, aided by some ordinary effort in the field from the hosts.
For that matter, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s ‘golden’ arm could also not come to the rescue of the side on a placid wicket as she conceded 32 runs in three overs without a wicket.
Ellyse notched up her fifth fifty against India and 33rd overall while Phoebe bounced back strongly from a poor outing in her one-off Test last week to flay the Indian attack.
Ellyse and Phoebe’s 148-run association is now the third highest second-wicket partnership against India in ODIs.
But both the batters only had themselves to blame for their respective dismissals.
After clobbering nine fours and two sixes, Ellyse danced down the track to hit one straight to Pooja Vastrakar off Deepti Sharma (1/55) at long-on, having suffered cramps as her innings progressed.
On the other hand, Phoebe produced 78 runs from 89 balls with eight fours and a six in which her reverse sweep shots were the highlight.
Phoebe fell soon after Ellyse when she missed connecting on a sweep shot off Sneh Rana in the 31st over.
Earlier, a fine 82 from Jemimah Rodrigues and a brisk unbeaten 62 from Pooja Vastrakar propelled India Women to their highest ODI total of 282/8. India’s previous-best against Australia in ODIs was 281/4 at Derby in 2017.
With several top-order batters failing to convert starts, Jemimah battled energy-sapping heat and humidity to carry her imperious form, notching up her second fifty in four ODIs this year, and the first against Australia.
The right-handed batter also recorded her second-best score in the format, laced with seven boundaries off 77 balls.
She also forged several partnerships, including a 68-run stand with Pooja for the eighth wicket.
Pooja displayed her big-hitting ability yet again, smashing the ball to all corners of the ground to bring up her fourth fifty.
The right-handed batter smacked seven fours and two sixes to remain unbeaten on 62 off just 46 balls.
India’s late surge saw the hosts collect 56 runs in the last six overs with Pooja carrying on after Jemimah had fallen to Ashleigh Gardner (2/63).
With wickets falling steadily right from the start, opener Yastika Bhatia continued to hold one end up to inch closer to a half-century.
But she could not resist a tempting full toss from leg-spinner Georgia Wareham (2/55) and was caught by Megan Schutt at deep square leg.
Yastika, though, deserves full marks, as the makeshift opener gave a decent platform to Jemimah and Pooja to build on with her 64-ball 49.
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