Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Goswami at the centre of another last over drama in Mackay. Goswami bagged three wickets before hitting the winning boundary as India ended Australia's ODI winning streak
Goswami bagged three wickets before hitting the winning boundary as India ended Australia's ODI winning streak
It was poetic justice that when it came down to the wire again in Mackay, in the third ODI against Australia on Sunday (September 26), India found the familiar guiding hands of Jhulan Goswami in the middle. Though admittedly unaware at the time of her opponent's magnificent winning streak, spanning over three years, Goswami had nearly halted it at 25 on Friday if not for the infamous waist-high no-ball. A day later, she dusted herself off after the heart-crushing defeat and was a picture of utmost calm as she guided India over the line in what is now their best chase in the format.
Goswami said after the hurt of the second ODI, where she failed to defend 13 off the final over, all she wanted was to stand up as a senior member of the side and fulfil the role she's been entrusted with by the team management, including pinching some late runs.
“First of all, the way we lost the match day before yesterday, it really hurt,” Goswami said after picking up the Player of the Match award. “Because of a lot of dew, it was difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball [in the second innings], but we still somehow dragged the match to the last ball. And then a lot of drama happened in the last over.
“So for me, as a senior member of the side, it was very important to try and make a comeback from that and deliver for the team what they required of me. Every match is important to us and we've come here to play some good cricket. So, as a senior member of the team, I just tried to hold my nerves and give my best,” added the 38-year-old who had made telling contributions of 20 and 28* in the first-two games.
“See, I've always known that it's important as a tailender batter if you can chip 15-20 runs every match that makes a lot of difference. The captain and the coach have told me that my role is not just as a bowler but that I have to chip in with the bat. So, I've been spending a lot of time in the nets to try and middle the ball and whenever I've got the opportunity, I've tried to deliver.”
Following a 101-run partnership between half-centurions Shafali Verma (56) and Yastika Bhatia (64), a remarkable rearguard act in the form of a seventh-wicket stand between Deepti Sharma (31 off 30) and Sneh Rana (30 off 27) showed the way again after India's chase of 265 steered off course with a collapse of 5 for 48 in the middle-overs.
While India needed considerably fewer runs (5) off the last over than what Australia did last match, they didn't have the luxury of a recognised batter in the middle. It was, in fact down to their new-ball bowlers. But a determined Goswami put to use all her experience to steer India home with a boundary off the third ball to not only ensure her side doesn't lose another battle of nerves but also breathe some life back into the multi-format series.
“No, not at all,” said India's pace spearhead when asked if the last-over act evoked memories of the humdinger from less than 48 hours ago.
“I always knew if we were able to hold our nerves, we'll get those runs. I was just telling Meghna [Singh] ‘make sure that we play till the last ball, and wherever you get the opportunity to score, just go for it'. I was very much confident because in the last couple of games I was hitting the ball quite well. So I knew that if the ball was coming in my zone, I'd definitely go for it.”
That after putting in a decisive spell of pace bowling earlier in the day, claiming the crucial wickets of Australia's captain Meg Lanning for a duck and vice-captain Rachael Haynes on 13 in the space of five deliveries. Her match-turning returns stood at 3 for 37 from 10 overs, setting up a strong foundation.
“Everybody knows Meg Lanning is a world class batter, and if you don't get her out early, she can snatch the game from your hand. So it was important for me to get the early breakthroughs and keep the ball in the right areas.
“I was enjoying my rhythm, I was bowling in the right areas from the beginning today. I didn't try anything differently. On certain days things all fall in place and then some days you try to execute but it just doesn't go your way – that's how cricket's been played. But I'm glad today that whatever role I was given by the team management, I could fulfil.”
Despite losing the hard-fought ODI leg of the series 2-1, India have made significant intangible gains in Mackay with respect to their World Cup preparations. The ‘finds' of this tour thus far may have been Richa Ghosh the floater and Yastika Bhatia the new No. 3, but in Meghna Singh and Pooja Vastrakar, India have also found new dimensions to their otherwise spin-reliant bowling attack.
Before departing for Australia, head coach Ramesh Powar had hoped to zero in on pacers who could take some load off Goswami, and the duo grabbed every opportunity with both hands to climb up the pecking order. While she may not have as many wickets to show for it, Meghna impressed with her swing bowling in helpful conditions. On the other hand, Vastrakar has returned after a being laid low by a spate of injuries (and non-selection) to emerge as the strongest contender yet for the all-important pace-bowling all-rounder slot in the World Cup combination where the top-half comprises of only pure batters.
As the spearhead of India's attack building up to what will be her fifth one-day World Cup, Goswami too is pleased with the progress shown by the pair.
“As a team when you're building towards a major tournament like the World Cup, you always need to give it some time. Because of COVID, we haven't played a lot of series. But whoever is being given an opportunity in the lead up to the World Cup, we're spending a lot of time on them in the nets so that they get that confidence and then when they come into the game, they are able to deliver to their role. See, at the end of the day, everyone has talent but it's about how you're able to handle that pressure. That's what is more important.
“We're in the process of zeroing in on our World Cup combination and as a team management we've been spending a lot of time on them. Luckily we got to play some good quality matches over here, giving us a chance to experiment with them.
“Meghna was very impressive. She's bowled really well on this tour, in the three ODIs so far. And it's great the way Pooja has made a comeback – both in her batting as well as the bowling because she's a very key person in our side. Everybody in our side is backing her a lot because she has a lot of potential in her. [It would be great for India] if she can continue the way she played in this series. She has a long way to go.,” Goswami concluded.