India finished the ODI leg of the multi-format series on a high with a brilliant win and ending Australia's unbeaten ODI streak of 26.
However, Australia won the ODI series 2-1, with the multi-format series' scoreline reading 4-2.
It was another game in Mackay that went down to the wire but this time India held their nerves as they sealed a thrilling two-wicket win with just three balls to spare. Jhulan Goswami hit the winning runs, lofting it straight for a four.
Chasing a target of 265, India showed poise and power in their response, with the opening pair of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana putting on 59 for the first wicket. Negotiating the new-ball partnership of Perry and McGrath, Mandhana fell to the off-spin of Gardner for 22 (25), with Annabel Sutherland taking an athletic catch running back from mid-off.
Youngster Yastika Bhatia continued her fine start to international cricket, ticking things along with Verma, bringing up a one-hundred run stand in just 19 overs.
At 160/1 after 29 overs and needing just 105, India looked in prime position, before a double blow swung the pendulum back once again. Verma fell to the aggressive left-arm orthodox of Sophie Molineux for 56, while ‘keeper Richa Ghosh was dismissed an over later, with Sutherland taking her first wicket.
Bhatia continued her press with captain Mithali Raj, with only a piece of inspired fielder ending her stay at the crease. Top-edging a short ball, Bhatia became Stella Campbell's first victim in international cricket, only after a diving catch from substitute fielder Molly Strano.
India lose another!— ICC (@ICC) September 26, 2021
Substitute fielder Molly Strano takes a great low-catch running in from deep as Yastika Bhatia departs for 64.
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Sutherland doubled her tally by rattling Vastrakar's (3) stumps, leaving Raj and No.7 Deepti Sharma needing a run a ball from the last ten overs. Sutherland struck once again, in her next over, snaring an important wicket of the India skipper, who was bowled for 16.
Rana got a lifeline when she was dropped by Nicola Carey on 11 on the last ball of the 44th over. The equation came down to India requiring 33 runs from the last five overs, with four wickets in hand.
The luck was on Rana's side as she got another life in the next over. Once again it was Carey, who completed a caught and bowled dismissal, but the delivery was called a no-ball as Carey had overstepped.
McGrath broke the 33-run seventh-wicket stand by snaring Deepti's wicket for 31. Riding on a lucky run, the onus was on Rana to take her side across the line but she eventually became Carey's victim in the penultimate over.
Goswami and Meghna Singh made sure there weren't any more hiccups, as guided India to a memorable win, that will help boost their confidence for next year's ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Earlier, Meg Lanning won the third consecutive toss for the Australians in the series, electing to bat with the mercury rising into the mid-twenties.
Double breakthrough! Jhulan Goswami claims Haynes and Lanning in one over to swing early momentum in the tourists’ favour!— ICC (@ICC) September 26, 2021
Australia 41/2 (9)
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Australia’s opening pair of Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy looked to keep the heat on in the middle, racing to 40 inside the first eight overs, only for the pressure to be released through the work of veteran quick Goswami. Forcing a false shot to dismiss Haynes (13), Goswami swung early momentum in India’s favour when she caught the outside edge of Lanning, who was left to walk back without adding to the score.
A slice of fortune brought India’s third wicket with Healy (35) unluckily run out at the non-striker’s end, and Australia’s fourth wicket fell for just 87, with Ellyse Perry handing Pooja Vastrakar the first of three wickets, picking out Deepti Sharma at backward point.
Just as India looked to have the ascendancy, however, Beth Mooney once again stood up. Backing up from her unbeaten hundred in the second ODI, the left-hander combined with Ash Gardner, in a partnership of 98 to steer the hosts back in front.
Gardner (67) and Mooney (52) reached their half-centuries in the same over, though Mooney departed soon after, bowled by Sneh Rana, attempting to sweep. Gardner and Tahlia McGrath (47 off 32) continued the push in a show of Australia’s batting depth, as the hosts belted 79 runs in the final ten overs to post 264/9 from their 50 overs.
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