Jhulan Goswami, who set the game up with 3 for 37, sealed victory with the bat in the final over
India Women 266 for 8 (Batia 64, Verma 55, Sutherland 3-30) beat Australia Women 264 for 9 (Gardner 67, Mooney 52, Goswami 3-37, Vastrakar 3-46) by two wickets
Big runs, baffling drops, bold catches, missed run-outs, a front-foot no-ball ruling out a wicket, and… a record chase. If the humdinger from two nights ago needed a worthy follow-up, the third Australia vs India ODI in Mackay delivered it. If Australia asked for more than something special from the opposition to lose an ODI at long last, India delivered it. Albeit nervously, shoddily. The result: a thrilling two-wicket win for India, set up by Jhulan Goswami‘s 3 for 37 and sealed by her with the bat in the last over of the chase, to snap Australia’s world-record ODI-winning streak at 26 matches.
Before Goswami’s arrival, and her winning four over over left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux’s head when the visitors needed three off the last four balls, plentiful drama had transpired. To avert a third straight loss, and a second morale-crushingly narrow defeat in under 36 hours, India needed 24 – and character from their lower order – off the last four overs in their chase of 275. Their previous highest successful ODI chase was of 248, and their task here had been made more arduous by their efforts on the field, where they shelled four genuine chances as well as gave away misfields that cost them at least 15 runs.
Australia weren’t without their own flaws as a fielding unit, however, and they kept losing personnel – Rachael Haynes, Beth Mooney, and Sophie Molineux – to injuries as the chase went along. India exploited both developments as Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana built a breezy seventh-wicket stand of 33 that brought them back into the game after they had slipped to 208 for 6.
The only change to India’s XI on the day had been Rana replacing Rajeshwari Gayakwad. In the 44th over, Rana received two lifelines against Molineux, who was bowling with her face tightly strapped after having copped a blow to the mouth at the end of the 39th over when a throw from Stella Campbell had bounced awkwardly off the pitch. Molineux had just returned to the field for her second spell, and her over saw Rana dropped twice in the space of three balls: first by Molineux herself and then by Nicola Carey at square leg.
There was more good luck for Rana in the next over, with Molineux failing to hit the stumps from cover when she was well short of her crease, and then when Carey was no-balled for overstepping after catching her off her own bowling.
Rana rode her luck, bisected the field smartly, and brought the equation down to 22 needed off 21 before scooping, ramping and lofting Tahlia McGrath for three successive fours. India had lost Deepti for a 30-ball 31 earlier in that over, but Rana’s assault swung the momentum back their way, bringing the equation down to 10 off 17.
More to follow…
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha