Major takeaways from India's T20I series against Australia

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11 Oct 2021 | 11:17 AM
authorShweta Haranhalli

Major takeaways from India's T20I series against Australia

While Australia clinched the T20I series 2-0, the hard-fought contest across the three games provided glimpses of great things to follow for women's sport

The rise of the Indian women's team in the past decade and the consistency showcased by Australia have enthralled millions of people all across the globe. The recently concluded India's tour Down Under displayed a spectacle of the exciting contest between the two sides that has developed a fierce rivalry over the past few years. Barring the first ODI, the two teams were involved in high-voltage battles, with Australia winning the multi-format series 11-5. However, the score line does not give a clear indication of the young Indian contingent's performances across three weeks. While the nerves and the gravity of the situation got the better of them in the second ODI, the team bounced back in an emphatic fashion to clinch the third game and halt the hosts' 26-match winning streak. 

With plenty of excitement and on the brink of creating history, the Indian side set foot in Gold Coast for the historic one-off pink-ball Test. Despite the jitters and lack of experience in the longest form of the game, the visiting side dominated proceedings for majority of the four-day match. However, with rain playing spoilsport, India struggled to press for a result on the final day as the two sides shook hands for a draw.

After their record-breaking summit clash in the 2020 World T20 at the MCG, India and Australia rekindled their rivalry in the shortest format with a three-match series. While the first match was abandoned due to rain when India was in a commanding position, the subsequent games exhibited the Aussie dominance and the depth of their side underlining the importance of the Women's Big Bash League. With the series done and dusted, we take a look at some of the memorable moments in the series.

Australia unearth a star in Tahlia McGrath

An injury to experienced batter Racheal Haynes resulted in the inclusion of Tahlia McGrath in the one-off Test and the T20s. Haynes has been a vital cog in the middle-order in the T20 format and has guided them out of challenging situations, including the match-winning 60 against Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup. 

While the home team were also missing the services of Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen, the absence of Haynes jolted them further in their bid to clinch the series. After the first game was abandoned due to relentless rain, the 25-year old grabbed her opportunities and produced match-winning performances in the second and third matches. 

Australia were tottering at 46/4 while pursuing 119 in the second match, the right-hander steadied the innings with an unbeaten 44 off 33 balls to power them to a four-wicket win. She followed it up with another match-defining knock of 44 not out off 31 deliveries as she propelled her side to 149/5 in 20 overs in the third match. Her consistent performances in the three games meant, she was adjudged the Player of the Series. 

The return of Jemimah Rodrigues 

After being axed from the playing XI in the ODIs and the one-off Test, Jemimah Rodrigues was drafted into the line-up for the first T20. Coming in to bat at number three, the 21-year old anchored the innings with an unbeaten 49 off 36 deliveries. The right-hander displayed an array of strokes all around the ground as she steadied the innings and laid a solid foundation for a push in the final overs. However, as India looked set for a mammoth first innings total at 131/4 in 15.2 overs, relentless showers forced abandonment of the match. Her efforts of 23 off 26 deliveries in the final game went in vain as India lost a flurry of wickets in the middle overs and fell 14-runs short of the target.  

Ellyse Perry creates history 

One of the stalwarts in the history of women's cricket, Ellyse Perry carved her name in the record books in the second T20I as she became the most capped player for Australia across formats surpassing Alex Blackwell's 251 games. 

Barring her unbeaten knock of 68 in the Test match, Perry has struggled to find her mojo in the series with both bat and ball. Ever since she made a comeback into the national side post her hamstring injury, the 30-year old failed to hit the ground running. However, with plenty of matches under her belt, it is hardly a matter of time before she sets the stage on fire with her all-around abilities. 

Shikha Pandey's dream delivery 

One of the talking points in the second match was the jaw-dropping seaming delivery by Shikha Pandey in the first over. The 32-year old, who made a comeback into the playing XI, pitched the ball on the sixth stump and jagged back to take Alyssa Healy's middle-stump. 

While the delivery left the fans of world cricket in awe, it got the Indian side back into the contest after posting a modest total of 118 runs in the first innings. With the ball moving around under lights, the medium-pacer caused plenty of concerns for the formidable Australian batting unit with her accuracy and nagging length. 

Emergence of young Indian talent

In the second match of the series, India were reeling at 81/9, with Pooja Vastrakar and Rajeshwari Gayakwad battling out for the final three overs. While not many people gave the visiting side a chance to cross the 100-run mark, 22-year old Vastrakar had other ideas. The hard-hitting all-rounder smashed 37 off the final three overs, including 16 off the final over, to help the Women in Blue post a fighting score of 118.

The three-match series also witnessed the rise of Richa Ghosh at the international level. While she scored some valuable runs in the ODI leg, the final game showcased her brutal power-hitting down the order. In the first match, she scored an unbeaten 13-ball 17 before rain interrupted the proceedings and followed it with a 23 off 11 deliveries in the final game. While her late blitz could not help India get over the line, her consistent performances in the middle order and her destructive ability in the back end of the innings will serve Indian cricket well in the forthcoming games. 

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India Women tour of Australia, 2021India WomenAustralia WomenTahlia McGrathJemimah RodriguesShikha PandeyPooja VastrakarRicha GhoshEllyse Perry

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