India and Australia played a thriller in Cape Town on Thursday, with the defending champions getting the better of Team India by five runs. It was India’s game to lose when Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur forged a solid partnership of 59 runs, but after their dismissals, Australia showed tremendous fighting spirit to put the game past the Indian team.
In the last two overs, India needed 20 runs to win when they lost Sneh Rana and the asking rate was too difficult to achieve with Deepti Sharma being the only capable batter in the ranks. However, Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner, who scored an 18-ball 31 and then picked up two wickets, stated that they had no business winning the encounter after being down and out after the 10-over mark in the run-chase.
“I think at the ten-over mark in India's batting innings, everyone had probably written us off, but I think that just shows the character within our side. That's why the best teams win in those types of positions, that's what we speak about. When our backs are up against the wall, we always try and find a way.
“Today, we probably had no right to win. At one point there, they were cruising and then we found a way to get some wickets and ultimately came out on top.”
India’s fielding performance was very disappointing, as skipper Meg Lanning was dropped on one and Beth Mooney on 32. But Australia did well to hang in there and on the boundary line, Elyssy Perry’s effort to save the boundary was one of the best fielding efforts in the game.
“We showed our class in the field. We always speak about being the best fielding team in the world and I think today really showed that. Ellyse Perry was elite on the boundary, she probably saved six runs herself. To think, whether it's dropped catches or missed opportunities in the field, those ultimately add up to quite a lot of runs.
“We took those chances in those pivotal moments when we really needed to and I certainly think Pez (Perry) was probably the blueprint for our side going forward, certainly on the boundary. That could have been something that I guess was a difference between us and them,” Gardner said.