Back from Injury, Poonam Yadav injures Australia by 17 Runs in Opening Clash

The much-awaited T20 championships started in Australia at the historic Sydney showground. The stadium was packed with a sea of blue and considerable support from the home side. The proceedings at start favored Aussies. They won the toss and chose to bowl first. Australian side had decided to bank on their tried tested names alongside two players who were playing their first match in a World Cup.

 

Poonam Yadav caught celebrating wickets
Poonam Yadav caught celebrating wickets. Pic Credits: ICC

India, too, had a combination of both young players alongside experienced campaigners. The stage was set for the anticipated championship to kickstart. Shafali and Smriti had given a stylish start to the Indian side with Verma taking the aerial route. India stood strong after the completion of the powerplay. However, it would have been foolish to hope that Aussies would let the match slip in so easily. They came back tight and took three quick wickets. Shafali, in an attempt, to pull the pacer gave a catch to mid-on. She was followed by Smriti and then skipper Harmanpreet who got out in the most absurd fashion.

Middle overs went smooth for India with Deepti Sharma and Jemimah rotating the strike and moving the scorers. Jemimah falls short of staying till the end and Veda had to play with Deepti. The Aussie players were smart enough to not give the pace to the batters and clever maneuvering from the Aussie skipper. Indians struggled to up the pace of the innings in the end and could manage a handful of boundaries in the last five overs. They ended up at 132 after completion of their 20 overs with the loss of four wickets. Australia were given a target of 133 in the world cup opener. Aussies meant business from the start and interestingly they had the same total as India after the first powerplay concluded. The only wicket was Looney who got to Shikha.

However, the Aussie looked strong on the back of their experienced line-up and the fine touch of Alyssa. They were cruising at a stage when Meg fell to Gayakawad in a calm catch to Indian keeper Taniya. Soon Poonam was brought into the mix of things with a nice-looking Alyssa and capable Haynes onto the pitch. She has the most T20I wickets for India. Her first few balls were too full for her liking and were shown the stands by in-form Alyssa. However, the next ball was decisive as the course of the match was about to change. Poonam was about to give her best in the situation where her team needed the most.

She, in the next over, in a spell of three overs got the Aussie team back rolling. Heavyweights like Perry, Jonassen was dominated by the storm of the leg spinner. Her googlies or straighter one got her closer to a hattrick where Tanya could not hold onto a huge deflection. Nonetheless, Bhatia impressed everyone with her keeping skills in stumpings and sharp catches. Poonam got herself the player of match title but was heavily assisted by Shikha who took 3 Australian wickets. Australia crumbled at 115 after their share of 120 deliveries. Australian side needs to introspect on their abilities to handle spin. The pitch too was rolled extensively to favor slow bowlers. India, on the other hand, shall not relax as they had a lot to ponder. Running in the wickets and fielding. There were moments in the game where the team felt amateur. The review and shot selection by Harmanpreet was not something that shall come from a skipper. Nonetheless, a win is a win and the team needs to ponder a strategy to level their team because stunners like a spell of Poonam today don’t happen every day. The team has to win with 11 hands.

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