Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - McGrath, Mooney set up Australia's 14-run win in third T20I. Tahlia McGrath scored a career-best 44 not out
Tahlia McGrath scored a career-best 44 not out
Tahlia McGrath's career-best 44 not out, following up on a match-winning unbeaten 42 yesterday, along with Beth Mooney's 10th T20I half-century helped Australia to a comfortable 14-run victory over India in the third and final T20I in Gold Coast on Sunday (October 10) to clinch the multi-format series 11-5.
Asked to bat first, Australia were reeling at 73 for 4 when McGgrath combined with Mooney for a game-changing partnership of 44 that propelled the hosts to 149 for 5. Opener Smriti Mandhana's 26-ball fifty – 14th in T20Is – was the highlight of India's unsuccessful chase that lacked the tempo right from the start when Shafali Verma fell cheaply. The vice-captain's dismissal eventually, when it was time to accelerate, proved fatal as India fell short despite Richa Ghosh's entertaining cameo at the fag end.
Renuka Thakur struck off her fifth ball of the game to send back Alyssa Healy for her maiden international wicket – Ghosh taking a well-judged catch on rebound standing up. Mooney, however, got into the act and made up for a Shikha Pandey maiden first up with a hat-trick of boundaries in the pacer's second over to release the built up pressure. From there on it was smooth sailing in the powerplay as the second-wicket pair stabilised the innings, taking Australia to 38 for 1.
It was a stroke of luck in the seventh over that helped India get past the threatening partnership. Meg Lanning, who had already pulled a short ball from Rajeshwari Gayakwad for four, shaped up for a cut this time and even managed a second boundary but had dislodged a bail in the process. Mooney once again hit back with three consecutive boundaries, off Harmanpreet Kaur, but India dominated the middle-overs phase with two more strikes in quick succession. Pooja Vastrakar first had Ash Gardner nicking behind in the ninth over and then caught Ellyse Perry at long-on as the allrounder skipped down the track to a tossed up delivery from Deepti Sharma.
At 73 for 4 in the 12th over, Australia were in desperate need of a rescue act and McGrath joined hands with a well-set Mooney to provide just that through their brisk partnership that lasted 37 deliveries. It was in fact there that India let the game slip away from their hands as Australia stepped on the gas to steal 50 off the final six overs for just one wicket. The fourth-wicket pair found boundaries all over – McGrath making her intentions clear with a slog-sweep off Gayakwad, and Mooney getting to her half-century with a picture perfect drive through the covers.
Gayakwad returned to the attack in the 18th over and struck with her second delivery to bring curtains on Monney's stroke-filled show when Harmanpreet at cover pulled off a superlative diving forward one-handed catch. McGrath however managed to spoil the rest of the over, depositing the spinner straight down the ground for Australia's first six of the evening, followed by a four more. Pandey and Deepti leaked 10 each in the final two as Australia finished with a strong total.
India's hushed reply was a direct consequence of losing Verma cheaply, and to a nothing delivery. The opener got a half tracker down the leg from Gardner and managed to pull it straight into the waiting hands of short fine leg to leave India at 3 for 1 in the middle of the second over.
Mandhana broke the shackles with three boundaries off Tayla Vlaeminck in the fifth over that yielded 14, including a flick off the low full toss on the pads, a drive bisecting the cover and point fielders and a cracking pull sandwiched in between the two when the pacer dropped it short. Despite that, India's powerplay score of 28 for 1 was behind Australia's.
Mandhana kept finding an odd boundary at regular intervals, but it was Jemimah Rodrigues who holed out to long-off just as she'd started to tee off. She welcomed Georgia Wareham back into the attack with a lofted four straight over the bowler's head but failed to go the distance the second time, bringing curtains on the 57-run second-wicket partnership.
The wicket opened the floodgates, and the home side had Lanning to thank for the next two strikes. As the Indians looked to accelerate, the Australian captain took two well-judged over-head catches at extra-cover, removing both half-centurion Mandhana and the dangerous Harmanpreet in successive overs to help Australia take control. Nicola Carey then cleaned up a promoted Vastrakar, on just 5, to tighten the noose.
Harleen Deol's run out, off the first ball of the 18th over when India needed 51 more, left little to the imagination as far as the result was concerned. Nonetheless, Richa Ghosh decided to showcase her power-hitting skills in a valiant effort of 23* (11 balls) that included a 21-run final over off Carey to reduce Australia's victory margin to just 14.
Brief scores: Australia 149/5 in 20 overs (Beth Mooney 61, Tahlia McGrath 44*; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2-37) beat India 135/6 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 52, Richa Ghosh 23*; Nicola Carey 2-42) by 14 runs.