The second ODI between India and Australia was a nail-biting thriller as the match went all the day down the wire. Australia chased 275 on the very last ball to win the match by five wickets and register their 26th straight win in the ODI format. Australia has taken an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match ODI series. The third ODI will be played on September 26 at Harrup Park in Mackay.
To discuss the 2nd ODI that was played between India and Australia, Female Cricket Live had Soniya Dabir, Aarti Sankaran and Sharadha Sridharan on the show.
“It was refreshing to see 50-over cricket also going till the very end.”
Soniya said, “It was an amazing match. Ideally, it was a great game for women’s cricket in general. We had some great performances from both sides, to name a few, Smriti Mandhana, Richa Ghosh, Jhulan Goswami, Tahlia McGrath, and of course Beth Mooney. It was wonderful to see an ODI match going all the way to the very last ball. Usually, we see this in T20s but it was refreshing to see 50-over cricket also going till the very end.”
“I feel it was lack of experience of playing in such a pressure situation that did not let India cross the line.”
With 13 runs to get off the last over, India roped in veteran Jhulan Goswami to complete the formalities. There were a couple of no-balls in that over which helped Australia snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Aarti said, “It was not just the no-balls, it was also Richa Ghosh’s unnecessary throw, an ordinary effort at mid-wicket which resulted in two runs. It could have been five to get off the last ball. I feel it was lack of experience of playing in such a pressure situation that did not let India cross the line. For Australia, we all know the kind of champion side it is, they manage to have different match winners. There is no doubt about India’s skill, only concern is their ability to overcome the pressure in crunch situation.”
“It was great to see a positive approach from the batters and there was a considerable improvement in India’s batting compared to the first ODI.”
Batting first, India got off to a solid start, thanks to Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana, who put together 74 in 11.1 overs for the first wicket. Apart from Mithali Raj, who was unfortunately run out, and Yastika Bhatia who fell while trying to play a release shot, the rest of India’s middle and lower-middle order chipped in with useful contributions to help the team reach 274-7 in 50 overs. Sharadha said, “It was a fantastic batting effort to score 274 against a quality bowling attack. We played the bouncers sensibly. There was intent also to go for runs. The run rate was over five runs per over for the most part of the innings. It was great to see a positive approach from the batters and there was a considerable improvement in India’s batting compared to the first ODI.”
Mithali Raj came in at number 3 but her stay was a short one. Soniya said, “It was good to see her at number 3. Unfortunately, she was run out. Run-outs are part of the game. There was clear miscommunication between Smriti and Mithali, which led to the runout. Going forward, I feel Mithali should come in at number 3 and I am sure even she is aware of that.”
Yastika Bhatia, who made her debut in the first ODI, scored 35 runs in that match. However, she failed to score big in her second match. She played out one maiden over and after that over, she was out trying to play a release shot. Aarti said, “I don’t think there was any pressure. If Yastika would have played out a maiden over at the domestic level, she would have told herself that she has the ability to make up for that over going ahead. She has to apply the same logic at the international level. There is no doubt about her ability with the bat and she has shown with her debut performance that she belongs to the international level. I feel that she just got bogged down. Instead of going for that big shot, she could have just tapped and run. That could have got her feet moving and given her confidence.”
“It was exciting to see Richa bat with that freedom and flair.
Richa Ghosh was promoted up the order ahead of Deepti Sharma. The wicket-keeper bat scored 44 runs. Sharadha said, “It was exciting to see Richa bat with that freedom and flair. Her running between the wickets was immaculate and that six which she hit straight over Darcie Brown’s head was fantastic. It has been a long time since India’s number 5 played this way. There is no doubt that Richa will be a great prospect for India in years to come.”
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) September 24, 2021
Pooja Vastrakar and Jhulan Goswami stitched a useful 53-run partnership towards the end to take India to 274. Soniya said, “Running between the wickets was good. They played some beautiful shots. It was good to see Jhulan coming up with the order. Her experience may have helped Pooja and together they contributed some useful runs for the team.”
In reply, Australia did not get off to the best of starts as they lost in-form Alyssa Healy for a duck, thanks to Jhulan Goswami’s peach of a delivery. Aarti said, “It was a fantastic first over by Jhulan. Meghana and Jhulan kept things tight in the first 10 overs, not allowing Australia to score freely. India picked up four wickets in quick time, but after that, I feel we were not on toes. There were lapses on the field. Beth Mooney was dropped at mid-wicket and how costly that drop proved in the end. Also India needs a bowler who can bowl those yorkers at the death. I feel Pooja Vastrakar can do that job as she has that pace and the ability to pitch it up. Overall it was a better bowling performance than the first ODI but it is important that India give its bowlers 270-280 runs to defend and for them to look good.”
India played two specialist spinners in Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Poonam Yadav. The duo failed to pick up any wickets. Sharadha said, “It is important that the spinners try to make something happen on their own rather than expected the pitch to aid them. Just like Sophie Molineux and Ashleigh Gardner used variations and angles to good effect, the Indian spinners can also try to do the same to get wickets. Bowling arm balls and googlies can help them to not only curtail runs but also take wickets.”
Australia were struggling at 52-4 before Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath bailed the team out with a stellar 126-run partnership. Soniya said, “That was a brilliant partnership. Our bowling was fine but the fielding was not that great. Easy twos were given away which released the pressure. There were some unnecessary overthrows that cost India dearly. The fielders needed to be swifter to stop the Australians from running those twos. It was a high-pressure game and I can understand that it might have got to the players.”
After McGrath departed scoring 74, Nicola Carey joined forces with Mooney. The duo put together 97 runs for the sixth wicket to see their side home. Aarti said, “India could have rotated the medium pacers more. Also having a spinner from one end and a medium-pacer from the other end could have helped. A slower ball from a medium pacer is different from a faster one from a spinner. Also, the fact that there was dew, the slower ones could have gripped instead of skidding which could have made it difficult for the batters. However, we cannot rule out the fact that batting second when there is dew is relatively easier. Also, the batters who were playing play in the top four for their state teams. So quality and technique-wise they are good.”
“The fielders have to convert the half-chances into chances.”
To sum up the factors that led to India’s downfall in the second ODI, Sharadha concluded, “Ground fielding for sure. India gave away plenty of twos. Also, the catching was an issue. The fielders have to convert the half-chances into chances. I remember one ball when Deepti Sharma had a chance when she was at extra covers. Though difficult, it needs to be converted, when you are playing against opposition like Australia. Apart from this, the throwing from the deep needs to improve. It should be nice flat and one bounce.”
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.