Jess Jonassen picked up her first five-wicket haul in Twenty20 internationals to help Australia claim an 11-run victory against India in the final of the women's tri-nation series on Wednesday, 12 February.
With 39 runs to win in 30 balls with six wickets in hand, India were in the driver's seat, with experienced campaigners Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti Sharma at the crease. However, a superb bowling performance from Jonassen turned the tide in Australia's favour in the last five overs.
Until the 16th over, Jonassen had bowled only one over giving away three runs. She came back for her second spell, as skipper Meg Lanning trusted with her the ball at death. After two flatter deliveries, she bowled a flighted one to trap India skipper Harmanpreet in front for 14. Two balls later, newcomer Arundhati Reddy was dismissed for a duck as she top-edged a sweep to Alyssa Healy. In the next over, Ellyse Perry removed Shikha Pandey for four. Jonassen then complemented her double strike from the previous over, to get Radha Yadav caught at cover for two.
Australia win the tri-series final!— ICC (@ICC) February 12, 2020
India required 39 off the last five overs, but Jess Jonassen runs through India’s middle-order with five quick wickets to stop them eleven runs short!#AUSvIND Scorecard 👉 https://t.co/cocffiMMUe pic.twitter.com/GqFGX55KQU
Despite wicketkeeper-batter Taniya Bhatia's cameo (11) and Deepti Sharma's resistance (10) at the end, India fell 11 runs short of Australia's total of 155/6. Jonassen struck twice in the final over to complete her five-for.
The hosts opted to bat earlier in the day, but suffered with another poor start. Alyssa Healy failed to get going and for the fifth time in the series, was out within the first two overs. Beth Mooney then stabilised the Australia innings, teaming up with Ashleigh Gardner (26) and Lanning (26) to take the hosts past the 100-run mark in the 14th over.
Mooney continued her fightback alone as wickets tumbled at the other end. India bowlers kept the scoring rate down with regular strikes. A brief cameo from Rachel Haynes, coupled with Mooney's powerful strikes, ensured that Australia crossed the 150-mark in the final over. The hosts milked 19 runs in the final six balls despite losing Haynes' wicket, which in the end, proved costly for the visitors. Mooney, who scored her second consecutive fifty, finished on an unbeaten 71 off 54 balls, that included nine hits to the fence. She was declared Player of the Series.
Having chased 174 in their previous match against Australia, India started their innings with confidence. Teenage opener Shafali Verma fell after hitting a four and a six, but Smriti Mandhana, who was dropped on 7 by Nicola Carey off Megan Schutt in the third over, made the hosts pay with her flamboyant batting. She brought up her second successive T20I fifty and 12th overall, consistency chipping at the modest target.
She was dropped again on 55 by Annabel Sutherland off her own bowling in the 13th over. The youngster had already picked up her maiden T20I wicket when she dismissed Richa Ghosh for 17 four overs before. Mandhana's luck, however, finally ran out in the 15th over, when Carey, who had dropped her before, made up for her mistake to hold onto a diving catch at deep midwicket. Mandhana perished for an impressive 37-ball 66 against Schutt.
With India's best batter back in the hut and Jonassen's spirited bowling performance, the hosts held their nerve at death to secure a well-fought victory.
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