Richa Ghosh and Harmanpreet Kaur’s efforts in vain, Australia seal T20I series 3-1

A story of so close, yet so far for India in the 4th T20I versus Australia.  India narrowly miss out on levelling the series 2-2 but will still be proud of their efforts.

 

Richa Ghosh and Harmanpreet Kaur's efforts in vain, Australia seal T20I series 3-1 .PC: Getty Images
Richa Ghosh and Harmanpreet Kaur’s efforts in vain, Australia seal T20I series 3-1 .PC: Getty Images

 

Australia won the match versus India by a margin of 7 runs vs India in the do-or-die 4th T20I at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai. An Ellyse Perry special yet again topped by a brilliant all-round show by Ashleigh Gardner sealed the deal for Australia but India gave a fightback with a gem of a knock 40* off 19 by Richa Ghosh. Here’s what unfolded.

India won the toss and decided to bowl first here and Australia incorporated one change with Heather Graham coming in for Nicola Carey while India brought in Harleen Deol for Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Batting first, Australia had the dynamic duo of Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney to kickstart the proceedings. But before they could get going, India got rid of the dangerous Beth Mooney for 2 off just 8. Another jolt they received was losing their skipper Alyssa Healy for 30 off 21 and she had to retire hurt owing to a calf strain. Tahlia McGrath also could not quite capitalize and was outdone by a quicker, full, and in-line delivery with the stumps that she could not sweep as she was beaten by the pace of an amazing Radha Yadav delivery.

Ashleigh Gardner and Ellyse Perry then turned the match in Australia’s favour and it did not seem like they had any problems as they went after India’s bowling. They built on a wonderful partnership and Gardner was dismissed for 42 off 27 in a knock that had 3 boundaries and 3 sixes apiece. Ellyse Perry who continues to defy the odds and reveling in her rich vein of form scored 72 off 42 balls, a knock that had 7 fours and 4 massive sixes and she was striking at 171.43. She was ably supported by Grace Harris who played a knock of 27 off 12, striking at 225. Eventually, Australia ended up with a challenging and stiff 188/3. India perhaps did not have the best day with the ball as Renuka Singh Thakur and Anjali Sarvani went at economy rates of 10 and the primary spinners, Deepti Sharma who although picked 2 wickets went for 8.75 and Radha Yadav who scalped the crucial wicket of McGrath went for 8.67. India, now had its task cut out. Chase 188 and level the series. As simple as that seemed, the chase did not go as per their expectations.

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India did not have the best possible start as they lost their southpaw, Smriti Mandhana for 16 off 10. She was striking well and raked up 3 boundaries but the perfect off-spinner by Ashleigh Gardner complemented by a good catch by Beth Mooney behind the stumps meant the end of Mandhana’s stay at the crease. Joined at the crease by Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma was looking good striking the ball at her will but a Darcie Brown good length ball on the outside off got the better of her and India was now in a situation with both their openers gone. Considering how Jemimah has not been in the best run of form off late, Australia without much ado got rid off her as Alana King struck in her very first over. Jemimah mistimed a shot that was supposed to go over short fine leg but because it was slow, short and bowled around her leg she did not read it properly, it landed perfectly in Darcie Brown’s hands.

Harmanpreet Kaur and Devika Vaidya began the rebuilding effort and were looking solid together although there was scoreboard pressure. Harmanpreet made the most of the Heather Graham over scoring 17 runs and even forged a 50 runs partnership with Vaidya but a flighted-off stump delivery by Alana King that Harmapreet wanted to sweep did not work and a top edge meant the demise of the Indian skipper for 46 off 30 in the 15th over.

Richa Ghosh joined Devika Vaidya and still kept the scoreboard ticking hitting two boundaries. It was after Vaidya’s dismissal for a well-played 32 off 26 balls, the Bengal duo of Richa Ghosh and Deepti Sharma took matters into their hands. Scoring massively off Graham in the 18th over, India looked in control and Richa Ghosh looked like she was batting in a trance as she scored almost 18 runs in the 19th over but India still required a lot. Megan Schutt bowled out of her skin to defend the total as India could get just 12 from the over and lost by a narrow margin of 7 runs. India was tantalizingly close to victory but could not find themselves across the finish line and conceded the series 3-1 to Australia with one final game to go. Nevertheless, the 40 off 19 scored by the young Richa Ghosh under pressure, and the cameo of 12 off 8 by Deepti Sharma was remarkable.

The Southern Stars would be profusely proud of their bowling as Gardner scalped 2 wickets and so did Alana King. Another remarkable statistic was how India reached the 180-run mark without a single batter scoring 50. No surprises for the ‘Player of the Match, as a brilliant all-round performance by Ashleigh Gardner with her 42 off 27 and 2 wickets swept the show. India will look to salvage pride in the last and final T20I on 20th December and end the year on a high!

Brief Scores: Australia: 188/3 (E Perry 72*, Gardner 42; D Sharma 2/35) defeated India 181/5 (H Kaur 46, Ghosh 40*; Gardner 2/20, King 2/23)

I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.

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