Leg spinner Poonam Yadav produced a match winning spell in her comeback fixture as India Women stunned defending champions Australia by 17 runs in the opening game of the Women’s T20 World Cup in Sydney on Friday.
Here are our talking points from the match that was played in front of a 13,432 record crowd.
Shafali Verma plays crucial innings at the top: After being put in by Australian skipper Meg Lanning, it was imperative that India started well, and they managed it thanks to Verma’s breezy innings at the top. The Rohtak teenager hit a quickfire 29 off 15, and had more hits to the fence (5 fours, 1 six) than the rest of the Indian batters put together.
Verma effectively hit 29 off two and a half overs- India themselves managed only 17 off the final three despite having six wickets in hand. It was a vital innings in the context of things on a slow, sluggish wicket.
India slow at the end: As mentioned above, India got only 17 runs off the final three overs of the game. They appear to depend too much on their top four for power hitting and acceleration- 17 in the final three with six wickets in hand is almost unheard of in this age of T20 cricket, even on a slow wicket. It didn’t cost them here, but could well hurt them later on in the tournament.
Alyssa Healy wicket massive turning point: Alyssa, the niece of legendary Australian wicket-keeper Ian Healy, seemed intent on single-handedly taking Australia home. She was on 51 off 34, and the hosts were seemingly cruising to victory at 67/2 in the 10th over, with less than a run a ball required. Having just hit a six off Poonam Yadav, Healy again came forward on the next delivery, but could only send a simple return catch to the bowler. Her wicket opened the floodgates- Australia lost four wickets for 15, and the chase came apart.
Yadav bamboozles Australia: Australia were simply unable to cope with Poonam Yadav in the middle stages of the innings. The diminutive leggie, bowling at around 60-65 kmph, spun a web around the hosts, who struggled to come to terms with her bowling on a slow, gripping wicket. She accounted for Healy, Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes and Jess Jonassen in a magical spell of 4-0-19-4. Yadav should’ve also had a hat trick, but wicket keeper Taniya Bhatia failed to hang on to a simple catch.
Record attendance for a womens’ cricket game in Australia: The game saw an attendance of 13,432- a record crowd for a womens’ cricket game in Australia. Augurs well for the future of the tournament, and we reckon it will be broken several times over the course of the next few weeks.
India 132/4 beat Australia 115 all out by 17 runs