Birmingham, Aug 7 (IANS) Opener Beth Mooney top-scored with 61, but a terrific fightback from India in the last five overs meant that Australia finished at 161/8 in the gold medal match of 2022 Commonwealth Games at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Apart from the 74-run stand between Beth and captain Meg Lanning, Australia wasn’t allowed to break free as India conceded only 36 runs in the last five overs, taking five scalps. India were splendid in their fielding, making tight stops, taking brilliant catches and effecting terrific run-outs. With the ball, Renuka Thakur and Sneh Rana took two wickets each while Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav had a wicket apiece.
Renuka and Meghna Singh built pressure on Australia as nine runs came off first two overs, with an edgy four for Alyssa Healy. That worked wonders for India as a last moment review showed Alyssa was trapped lbw by an inswinger from Renuka while going for a swipe across the line in the third over.
Beth got going with boundaries through drive and flick while Meg nailed a drive through off-side and then hit an effortless six over long-off as Australia reached 39-1 in power-play.
Beth and Meg continued to rotate strike and hit occasional boundaries before the duo took 17 runs off Harmanpreet Kaur’s first over, with the Australia skipper hitting three fours off her Indian counterpart.
But her promising knock was cut short by Radha flicking a sharp underarm throw to non-striker’s end on Beth pushing back the ball to bowler, catching Meg inches short of her crease.
Tahlia McGrath, playing despite testing positive for Covid-19, fell cheaply as Radha dived full length to her left at backward point to take a stunning catch off Deepti. Ashleigh Gardner had hit a few boundaries, including a towering six over long-on off Radha.
But Sneh deceived her with flight and loop to be stumped easily by Taniyaa Bhatia. Beth got her fifty by thumping a juicy full toss over long-off. But India continued to take scalps as Grace Harris miscued to mid-on off Renuka.
In the next over, Beth tried to clear long-on off Sneh. But Deepti backtracked from mid-on and stuck out her right arm even as she was losing balance to complete a one-handed blinder.
India’s impressive fielding show continued as Meghna took a sharp catch at mid-wicket to send Alana King back while Jess Jonassen was caught short of her crease by a direct hit from Smriti Mandhana as Australia managed to finish with 161-8.
Brief Scores: Australia 161-8 in 20 overs (Beth Mooney 61, Meg Lanning 36; Renuka Singh 2-25, Sneh Rana 2-38) against India