Birmingham, Aug 8 (IANS) A captain’s knock from Harmanpreet Kaur and some terrific bowling as well as fielding performance wasn’t enough for India to get the gold medal in 2022 Commonwealth Games at Edgbaston on Sunday. Harmanpreet made 65 off 43 balls and also shared a 96-run stand for third wicket with Jemimah Rodrigues.
But the inability of recovering from losing a flurry of wickets taken by Ashleigh Gardner and Megan Schutt meant India clinched the silver medal in their maiden outing in the multi-nation games, losing by nine runs, the exact same margin by which they had lost the 2017 ODI World Cup final to England at Lord’s.
Shafali Verma began by smashing Megan Schutt for a brace of boundaries in the 12-run opening over. But in the next over, Smriti Mandhana’s shuffle caused her downfall as Darcie Brown uprooted her leg-stump. Shafali was then dropped at cover off Ashleigh Gardner at the start of third over. But on the fourth ball, she miscued again and was caught at mid-on.
Jemimah and Harmanpreet took time to settle in before taking three boundaries off Darcie in the final over of powerplay. While Jemimah made room to slice over cover-point, Harmanpreet pulled over mid-wicket and creamed a drive down on one knee to pierce through cover.
Jemimah continued to impress with her glorious off-side drives while Harmanpreet paddled for four and smoked a six down the ground to keep India afloat in the chase. Harmanpreet’s fascination for leg-side boundaries continued as she swung, swiped, and reached her fifty in 34 balls with a flick through mid-wicket.
Post reaching her fifty, Harmanpreet smashed Alana for two more boundaries through the leg-side. Jemimah upped the ante with a slog off Megan, but the pacer had the last laugh on the third ball as she uprooted the right-hander’s leg-stump.
India were plunged into deep trouble in the 16th over as Pooja Vastrakar holed out to deep mid-wicket off Ashleigh and Harmanpreet fell immediately as the edge off a premeditated scoop was caught by Alyssa Healy diving to her right.
Sneh Rana got a four off a misfield in the 18th over but was run-out on the very next ball. Despite this, India got 11 runs off the over and needed 17 off the last two overs. Radha Yadav was run-out and Deepti Sharma was trapped lbw in a span of three balls.
With 11 needed off the final over, Meghna Singh was run-out while going for second run and Yastika Bhatia was trapped lbw while going for a reverse sweep to leave India heartbroken, yet again.
Brief Scores: Australia 161-8 in 20 overs (Beth Mooney 61, Meg Lanning 36; Renuka Singh 2-25, Sneh Rana 2-38) beat India 152 all out in 19.3 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 65, Jemimah Rodrigues 33; Ashleigh Gardner 3-16, Megan Schutt 2-27) by nine runs