Ashleigh Gardner scored a fine unbeaten 52 as Australia Women pulled off a thrilling win by defeating India Women by 3 wickets in the Commonwealth Games 2022 opener on Friday at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma got India off to a solid start. The duo added 25 runs for the opening wicket before the former edged a delivery from Darcie Brown to Alyssa Healy behind the stumps.
Yastika Bhatia (8), who came into bat at No.3, was run out following a horrible mix up with Shafali. Young Shafali Verma who looked good in her innings of 48, fell to a brilliant catch behind the stumps off Jess Jonassen for 48.
Jonassen again struck twice- first by dismissing Jemimah Rodrigues and then claiming Deepti Sharma as The Women in Blue slumped to 117/5.
In the end skipper Harmanpreet Kaur scored a valuable 34 ball-52 to take India to a competitive score of 154/8 in their allotted 20 overs.
Jess Jonassen was the pick of the bowlers for the Aussies with figures of 4/22.
Chasing 155, Seamer Renuka Singh Thakur ripped the Australian top-order with wickets of Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath, leaving them reeling at 34/4.
The Aussies were in further trouble when Deepti Sharma claimed the prize wicket of Rachael Haynes for 9.
Ashleigh Gardner and Grace Harris put the innings back on track with a valuable 51 run stand for the sixth wicket before the latter holed one to Kaur off debutant Meghna Singh for a 20 ball-37.
Gardner was involved in yet another unbeaten 47 run stand for the eight wicket alongside Alana King to take Australia women to a thrilling three-wicket win with an over to spare.