Riding on Mithali Raj’s record-setting, unbeaten hundred, India A defeated its Australian counterparts by 28 runs to take a winning 2-0 lead in the three-match T20 series on Wednesday.
The victory meant that the third and final match, also to be played at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Bandra-Kurla facility will be of academic interest only. Veteran Mithali, who opened the innings along with Smriti Mandhana, was the cynosure of eyes as she tormented the Aussie bowlers in her whirlwind 105-run unbeaten knock which came off just 61 balls.
On her way, the right-handed batswoman recorded the highest score by an Indian woman in T20 surpassing 102 earlier set by Smriti.
While she completed her fifty in 31 balls, she notched up her hundred in just 59 balls. Mithali’s knock ensured that the host piled up a massive 184 for 5 in their alloted 20 overs. And later the Indian bowlers restricted the visitor to 156 for 9, ensuring the team’s win.
Smriti (1), Jemimah Rodrigues (5), D Hemalatha (2) and Anuja Patil (0) fell cheaply, but that did not deter Mithali, who struck 18 boundaries and a six in her entertaining innings.
Mithali, one of the best batters in women’s cricket in the world, stamped her class and also tuned up well for the World T20, which commences in the Caribbean next month.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (57 off 33 balls) ably supported Mithali as the two stitched a stand of 85 and ensured that the host went past the 175-run mark. Kaur’s knock was laced with six fours and three sixes.
The Aussies were never in the hunt in the chase as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Opener Tahila McGrath (47) showed some resistance but without support of partners as the Indian bowlers ticked all the boxes.
Off-spinner Deepti Sharma (2-32), Poonam Yadav (2-29) and Anuja Patil (2-31) led the wicket hunt while Radha Yadav, Pooja Vastrakar and Harmanpreet Kaur grabbed a wicket each.
Brief Scores: India A 184/5 (Mithali Raj 105 not out, Harmanpreet Kaur 57) bt Australia A 156/9 (Tahila McGrath 47, Poonam Yadav 2-29) by 28 runs.