It was yet another clinical performance Australia, who have once again gotten the better of India. After the thrashing they received in the one-off Test at Wankhede, they have bounced back extremely well at the same venue to go 1-0 up in the three-match ODI series. Let’s take a look at some of the major talking points from Australia’s six-wicket victory:
Yastika grabs her chance at the top
Given that Jemimah Rodrigues has opened on 18 occasions in ODI cricket, one thought that she would accompany Shafali Verma in the middle after Smriti Mandhana was ruled out due to illness. However, India opted to go in with Yastika Bhatia, who had opened just thrice previously, giving India their usual left-right combination at the top. Yastika batted responsibly and fell just one short of a well-deserved fifty.
This certainly gives India a massive boost as they have someone like Yastika, who can effortlessly play in the middle-order one day and suddenly slot in as an opener. She has done the same in T20Is as well, further indicating her willingness to adapt.
Jemimah shows her class
Jemimah Rodrigues did a formidable job to first absorb the pressure when the chips were down, build partnerships and then take on the bowling once she was set. The key was how well she executed her sweep shots. Australia had two fielders behind square on the leg-side just to negate that, but she still found a way.
She scored at a strike-rate of 164 with that particular shot, which is the key reason behind her high percentage of runs on the on-side.
She was a touch circumspect against the pacers, scoring 28 off 30 deliveries (SR 93.3), but did not hesitate to sweep her way out of trouble against the tweakers, accounting for 54 runs against them off just 47 deliveries (SR 114.9)
Vastrakar a worthy all-rounder
Since the start of 2022, among players who have scored at least 300 runs and picked up 10 wickets only six players - Ellyse Perry (32.98), Nat Sciver-Sciver (27.61), Amelia Kerr (19.37), Marizanne Kapp (19.06), Hayley Matthews (8.03), Sophie Devine (6.35) have a better average difference (Batting average minus bowling average) in ODIs than Pooja Vastrakar (1.19). This is indeed a commendable feat for Vastrakar, who usually bats at seven or below in ODIs for India.
On Thursday (December 28), she walked in to bat with India at 182 for 7 with 74 deliveries left. She left no stone unturned as she smashed the Australian bowling around to finish with an unbeaten 46 off 62.
She took full toll on anything overpitched, dispatching them into the fence.
Over 77% of her boundaries came when the ball was pitched up. She showed brute force in the middle and cleared the fence with utmost ease, eventually taking India to a formidable total.
One-off Test just a one-off for Australia
The Indian spinners wreaked havoc in the one-off Test at the Wankhede a few days ago, but Australia ensured that they did not carry any baggage from that Test into the ODI series. They ensured that they did not get bogged down by whatever the Indian spinners threw at them, and were in fact one step ahead and dominated the hosts.
The Indian spinners today conceded at an economy rate of 6.68, while the pacers were much better off, giving away just 4.89 an over. Credit has to be given to the way Phoebe Litchfield (78), Ellyse Perry (75), Beth Mooney (42) and Tahlia McGrath (68*) tamed the Indian bowling and barely broke a sweat in pursuit of 283.
The visitors have gotten off to the best of starts in the ODIs, going on to show that they have not lost a beat since Allysa Healy took over as full-time captain, at least in ODI cricket for now.
Australia continue dominance over India
Australia have dominated almost every single team they have come up against in white-ball cricket and India are no different. India have won just three out of the last 10 ODIs against them and it is even worse in T20Is, having won just won one out of 10.
Overall, Australia have won 41 out of the 51 times they have come up against India, which is truly staggering and a testament of their dominance.
It therefore is no surprise that Australia have won the World Cup seven times.
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