Aussies claim tri-series after huge Indian collapse
WITH the women's Twenty20 World Cup nine days away, Australia have ground out a 11-run win against India in their tri-series final.
Never convincing during the entire tournament, Australia did enough in Wednesday's decider to bowl the aggressive Indian batters out for 144. The tourists appeared to be on track for their second win against Australia in four days as opener Smriti Mandhana belted 66 from 37 balls at Melbourne's Junction Oval.
But the turning point came when Nicola Carey hung onto a tough catch near the boundary to dismiss the lethal Mandhana - one delivery after the Australian fumbled a ball that went past her for four.
Mandhana's dismissal precipitated a stunning collapse in which India lost 7-29, with Australian spinner Jess Jonassen producing career-best figures of 5-12 to run through India's middle-order, stepping up as superstar Ellyse Perry had a rare quiet day.
Jonassen's haul was the second-best by an Australian in W20Is, behind Molly Strano's 5-10 against New Zealand in 2017.
Three-time Belinda Clark Award winner Perry struggled with the bat as well, out for one as she was dismissed for the fifth time in the series.
In 17 previous WT20I innings, spanning more than two years, the allrounder had fallen just five times.
It was left to opener Beth Mooney (67no) to anchor Australia's innings of 6-155 with her third half-century of the series after captain Meg Lanning won the toss and batted.
Mooney again had a clean-up job to do after opening partner Alyssa Healy's shocking run with the bat continued.
Healy finishes the tri-series with 15 runs at an average of three, In other highlights, teen allrounder Annabel Sutherland picked up a maiden international wicket playing in her third game for Australia.
Lanning's team will roll into the World Cup buoyed by the fact they are still winning despite playing well below their best.
Australia will resume their rivalry with India in their opening game on February 21 at the Sydney Showground Stadium.
Scoreboard from Australia v India tri-series Twenty20 final at Junction Oval
A HEALY c Bhatia b Sharma 4 (4)
B MOONEY not out 71 (54)
A GARDNER c Gayakwad b Reddy 26 (24)
M LANNING c Verma b Yadav 26 (19)
E PERRY c Sharma b Gayakwad 1 (6)
A SUTHERLAND st Bhatia b Sharma 7 (6)
R HAYNES c Kaur b Gayakwad 18 (7)
N CAREY not out 0 (0)
Sundries (2w) 2
Six wickets for 155
Fall: 4 (Healy), 56 (Gardner), 107 (Lanning), 108 (Perry), 121 (Sutherland), 151 (Haynes).
Bowling: D Sharma 4-0-30-2, S Pandey 4-0-27-0, R Yadav 4-0-35-1 (1w), R Gayakwad 4-0-32-2, A Reddy 4-0-31-1 (1w).
Batting time: 87 mins. Overs: 20.
S VERMA c Mooney b Vlaeminck 10 (9)
S MANDHANA c Carey b Schutt 66 (37)
R GHOSH c Vlaeminck b Sutherland 17 (23)
J RODRIGUES c Carey b Vlaeminck 2 (5)
H KAUR lbw Jonassen 14 (16)
D SHARMA c Haynes b Jonassen 10 (14)
A REDDY c Healy b Jonassen 0 (2)
S PANDEY c Carey b Perry 4 (2)
R YADAV c Lanning b Jonassen 2 (4)
T BHATIA c Sutherland b Jonassen 11 (7)
R GAYAKWAD not out 1 (1)
Sundries (7w) 7
Fall: 11 (Verma), 54 (Ghosh), 65 (Rodrigues), 115 (Mandhana), 118 (Kaur), 118 (Reddy), 124 (Pandey), 127 (Yadav), 142 (Bhatia), 144 (Sharma).
Bowling: E Perry 3-0-19-1, T Vlaeminck 4-0-32-2 (1w), M Schutt 4-0-28-1 (1w), A Gardner 2-0-19-0 (1w/5), N Carey 1-0-13-0, J Jonassen 4-0-12-5, A Sutherland 2-0-21-1.
Batting time: 87 mins. Overs: 20.
Umpires: T Wilds, Donovan Koch (AUS).
Match Referee: Bob Stratford (AUS).
Third Umpire: Simon Fry (AUS).
Result: Australia won by 11 runs