Superb with the ball and efficient while batting, Australia eased to a comfortable eight-wicket win over India
Australia breezed home by eight wickets against India, to open its campaign in style at the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in Galle on Thursday (September 27).
One would have expected Australia to bat in a sedate manner, given the meagre target of 105, but the approach of the Australian batters caught the Indians off-guard. Meg Lanning led the way with a solid 39, studded with five boundaries, while Jess Cameron finished unbeaten on 36. Lanning set the tone at the start with Alyssa Healy (23) as the duo put together 43 in under 6 overs.
Australia eventually chased down the modest total in 17.2 overs, with India proving to be no match for it.
Perhaps Mithali Raj, the Indian captain, missed a trick or two by not introducing spin early on, but the ease and comfort with which the Australians batted against spin later indicated complete dominance. Even as the spinners tried to eke some life out of the pitch, the body language of the Indians suggested they had already conceded defeat.
Earlier, Raj made a bold decision to bat first, and for the first six overs, it looked like India did everything right. The approach from Poonam Raut and Amita Sharma was refreshing. Raut was particularly impressive as she brought out her full array of strokes, although just for a brief while. She top-scored with 21, hitting four boundaries, some of which were a treat for the eyes.
Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur, the team's best batters, had a foundation to work with, when India was 60 for 2 in 10 overs. However, the run-out of Raj proved to be India's undoing, as it completely lost momentum thereafter.
Australia was quick to assess the nature of the pitch as Lisa Sthalekar, the spinner, was introduced as early as the fourth over. The Indian strategy of attacking spin from the start backfired on the day. Kaur fell to Sthalekar after getting off to a start and making 18, but her wicket helped Australia claw its way back into the match.
The tail held on for a little while, but it was a tall order to expect it to get close to 130, a total which could have given India an opportunity to fight.
Erin Osborne, the offspinner, who sliced through the lower middle-order, was the pick of the bowlers for Australia with three wickets, while Sthalekar had two.