India eves eye T20I tri-series honours in final against Australia

Updated: Feb 12, 2020, 09:12 IST | PTI | Melbourne

Senior opener Smriti Mandhana continued to be the batting bulwark along with Harmanpreet, but the most heartening thing was that 16-year-old Shafali Verma came good in the last game against Australia

India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur
India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur

Melbourne: Their batting woes sorted, India will fancy their chances of claiming the women's T20 tri-series when they face Australia in the summit clash here on Wednesday. After failing to fire in unison in their first three league matches, India produced a good batting show to record a seven-wicket win over Australia on Saturday, which took the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side into the final. The two sides are on equal footing having won a match against each other in the double-legged league.

Senior opener Smriti Mandhana continued to be the batting bulwark along with Harmanpreet, but the most heartening thing was that 16-year-old Shafali Verma came good in the last game against Australia. The home side posted 173 for five, courtesy a 57-ball 93 from Ashleigh Gardner and Meg Lanning's 22-ball 37, but India overhauled the target in 19.4 overs, largely due to opener Shafali's 49 off 28 balls and Mandhana's 55 off 48 balls.

After two failures, Shafali gave India a flying start and her innings contained eight fours and a six. Her senior opening partner Mandhana, on the other hand, anchored the chase with a solid knock that comprised seven boundaries. Jemimah Rodrigues also contributed with a quickfire 19-ball 30, which was studded with five hits to the fence, while Harmanpreet chipped in with a run-a-ball 20 to help India chase down the target. The Indian bowlers have been doing well in this tournament with the likes Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad producing consistent performances. In the penultimate league match against England, the Indian bowlers did well to not allow the opponents an easy win while defending a small total.

Australia got a boost after an easy win over England a day after losing to India. They have a strong batting line-up with opener Berth Mooney among runs and one-down Gardner in tremendous form. Key players Lanning and Ellyse Perry have also been in good touch. The only struggling batter has been the opener Alyssa Healy.

Gardner had top-scored against India in the second league match between the two sides, while Mooney played a big part in the win against England, which took the home side to the final.

The tournament is a preparatory event for the T20 World Cup beginning in Australia on February 21.

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