Mackay [Australia], September 26 (ANI): Yastika Bhatia and Shafali Verma played knocks of 64 and 56 respectively as India defeated Australia by two wickets in the third and final ODI here at the Harrup Park on Sunday.
With this defeat, Australia's unbeaten 26-match run in ODI cricket came to an end. However, the hosts won the three-match ODI series by 2-1.
Chasing 265, India got off to a steady start as opening batters Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma put on 59 runs for the opening wicket. However, the stand did not last long as Ashleigh Gardner dismissed Mandhana (22) in the 11th over. Yastika Bhatia next joined Shafali in the middle and the duo did not let the momentum drop for the visitors.
Yastika was the aggressor of the two, while Shafali played the second fiddle. Both batters brought up their respective half-centuries as India was poised well in their chase at 153/1 by the end of the 28th over. A 101-run stand for the second wicket came to an end in the 30th over as Sophie Molineux bowled Shafali (56).
Richa Ghosh (0) and Bhatia (64) fell shortly after and India was reduced to 180/4, still needing 85 runs to win from 96 balls. Mithali Raj (16) and Pooja Vastrakar (3) departed in quick succession, and the hopes of India's victory rested on Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana's shoulders.
Deepti was sent back to the pavilion after playing a knock of 31 runs, but Sneh Rana kept India in the game. However, the right-hander was dismissed in the penultimate over after playing a knock of 30 runs and India needed 4 runs from the final over to register a win. Jhulan Goswami (8) showed her experience to finally take the visitors over the line.
Earlier, Ashleigh Gardner and Beth Mooney played knocks of 67 and 52 respectively as Australia posted a total of 264/9. Opting to bat, opening batters Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy put on 41 runs for the opening wicket, but this stand was broken in the ninth over as Jhulan Goswami dismissed Haynes (13). Indian bowlers then managed to get on top of Australia as Meg Lanning (0), Healy (35), and Ellyse Perry (26) departed in a matter of few overs and the hosts were reduced to 87/4 in the 25th over.
Beth Mooney and Ashleigh Gardner then got together at the crease and both helped the hosts in retrieving the innings. Both batters went past their respective 50-run mark and put up a fifth-wicket stand of 98 runs. India was finally able to break the partnership in the 40th over as Sneh Rana got the better of Mooney (52), reducing Australia to 185/5.
Gardner (67) was eventually sent back to the pavilion by Pooja Vastrakar in the 45th over and hopes of Australia reaching a score of more than 250 relied heavily on Tahlia McGrath. In the end, McGrath did not disappoint scoring 47 off just 32 balls, helping the hosts post a score of more than the 260-run mark. For India, Jhulan and Pooja scalped three wickets each.
Brief Scores: Australia 264/9 (Ashleigh Gardner 67, Beth Mooney 52; Jhulan Goswami 3-37) vs India 266/8 (Yastika Bhatia 64, Shafali Verma 56, Annabel Sutherland 3-30). (ANI)