Ashleigh Gardner hit her highest ever score of 93, but it was not enough for Australia, which fell to a seven-wicket defeat against India, which reached the target with just two balls to spare at Junction Oval in Melbourne.
- Australia 5-173, Ashleigh Garner 89 off 57 balls
- India 3-177, Smriti Mandhana 55 off 48 balls
- Australia must now beat England on Sunday to reach Wednesday’s final
India came out firing in pursuit of Australia’s 5-173, as 16-year-old opener Shafali Verma (49 off 28 balls) and Jemimah Rodriguez (30 off 19) teed off, before Australia’s bowlers reduced the scoring rate.
A steady 55 off 48 balls from opener Smriti Mandhana kept the Indian chase alive, before a run-a-ball 20 from captain from Harmanpreet Kaur and 11 runs in four balls from Deepti Sharma got India over the line in the final over.
India’s chase is the third-highest successful run chase in women’s T20 international cricket and the highest ever by India.
World Cup favourite Australia meanwhile has now lost twice in its last three T20 internationals, having only lost three of its previous 26 matches in the shortest format.
Australia must now beat England tomorrow in front of a sold-out crowd to reach Wednesday’s final of the triangular tournament, which has been used as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup, starting on February 21.
The hosts got off to an awful start in St Kilda, losing an out-of-form Alyssa Healy for a three-ball duck in the very first over.
Australia’s wicketkeeper was lucky to avoid being stumped the ball before she was dismissed and has now recorded scores of 9, 1 and 0 in this tri-series, with the World Cup just two weeks away.
Beth Mooney (16 off 17 balls) and Gardner (93 off 57 balls) put on 62 runs for the second wicket as Australia stabilised and then accelerated to a competitive total.
Mooney’s innings came to an abrupt end after she was caught on the boundary by Smriti Mandhana off a rank full toss from off-spinner Harleen Deol.
Gardner continued to prosper in partnership with returning captain Meg Lanning (37 off 22 balls) before both departed in consecutive overs to Yadav and Sharma respectively.
Lanning returned to lead the side after suffering from a back complaint that kept her out of the last contest between the two sides in Canberra last week, and looked good for her 37 before being caught off a slog sweep to the square leg boundary.
India’s innings got off to a blistering start as Verma and Mandhana made 85 runs in 50 balls for the first wicket.
Verma played brilliantly for her 49 off 28 balls, hitting one six and eight fours before being caught in the deep by Nicola Carey off the bowling of Elyse Perry.
However, the teenager’s departure did little to stem the flow of boundaries as Jemimah Rodriguez picked up where the opener left off before edging Megan Schutt behind to Healy for a 19-ball 30.
Mandhana’s impressive innings came to an end when she was given out lbw off Carey’s bowling, but India was able to lean on Kaur’s experience to see them over the line.