Poonam Yadav guides India to 17-run victory over Australia in Women’s T20 WC opener

Poonam Yadav took four wickets as India defeated the defending champions Australia by 17 runs in the opening match of the Women’s T20 World Cup on Friday here at the Sydney Showground Stadium.

Chasing 133, Australian openers Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy provided a steady start as the duo put on 32 runs for the first wicket. India finally got the breakthrough in the sixth over as Shikha Pandey dismissed Mooney (6).

Skipper Meg Lanning joined Healy in the middle to put on a brief partnership of 23 runs, but as soon as Australia started to gain an upper hand, Lanning (5) was sent back to the pavilion by Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Healy, however, continued to march on and brought up her half-century in the 10th over.

Immediately after reaching the half-century mark, Healy (51) was dismissed by Poonam Yadav, restricting Australia to 67/3. Indian spinners managed to spin a cob-web around the Australian batters and this led to the dismissals of Rachel Haynes (6) and Ellyse Perry (0) with Australia still 57 runs away from the win.

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Ashleigh Gardner tried her best as she kept the scoreboard moving at one end, but Indian bowlers kept on taking wickets at the other end. In the end, India managed to emerge triumphant by 17 runs.

Earlier, Deepti Sharma’s unbeaten knock of 49 runs enabled India to post 132/4 in the allotted twenty overs.

After being put in to bat, India got off to a flier as openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma put on 40 runs in the first four overs. Sixteen-year-old Verma took a special liking to Australian spinners and kept dispatching them for boundaries.

However, Australia came back strongly in the fifth over as Mandhana (10) was sent back to the pavilion by Jess Jonassen. Immediately after, Ellyse Perry also got among the wickets as she dismissed the set batter Verma (29), reducing India to 43/2.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (2), failed to leave a mark as she was dismissed in the seventh over by Jonassen and India was left in a spot of bother. However, Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma got together and retrieved the innings for India.

The duo put on 53 runs for the fourth wicket, but their stand was broken in the 16th over as Delissa Kimmince had Rodrigues (26) adjudged leg-before wicket, reducing India to 100/4.

In the final overs, Deepti Sharma was able to rotate the strike regularly and as a result, India went past the 130-run mark.

Brief Scores: India 132/4 (Deepti Sharma 49*, Shafali Verma 29, Jess Jonassen 2-24) defeat Australia 115/10 (Alyssa Healy 51, Ashleigh Gardner 34, Poonam Yadav 4-19) by 17 runs.

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