Australia beat India in close encounter

Melbourne: India opener Smriti Mandhana’s 37-ball 66 went in vain as Australia claimed the tri-nation women’s T20 series with a gritty 11-run win following a sensational five-wicket haul by spinner Jess Jonassen here on Wednesday. Set a target of 156, India were all out for 144 after being 115 for three in the 15th over.

Seasoned left-arm spinner Jonassen was the star of the show with brilliant figures of 5 for 12 in four overs, making her only the third Australian bowler to return a five-for in the women’s T20 format. “It was a really good all-round performance. Getting Mandhana was the game-changer, she was whacking us all over the park,” said Australian captain Meg Lanning. Opting to bat, Australia managed to post 155 for six in their stipulated 20 overs.

Chasing a challenging target, Mandhana was up to the task at hand and smashed 12 boundaries in her knock at the Junction Oval.

However, Mandhana’s dismissal in the 15th over, caught brilliantly by Carey in deep mid-wicket, turned the match in Australia’s favour as they put the brakes on India’s scoring while at the same time taking wickets. It was the departure of skipper Kaur, in the 16th over, which dashed India’s hopes of a victory. “In the last three overs we couldn’t take the pressure and ended up losing wickets,” said Harmanpreet, reflecting on the loss. Earlier in the day, India’s Rajeshwari leaked 19 runs in the last over to let Aus off the hook and post a challenging total.

Opener Mooney, who was adjudged player of the series for her 208 runs in the event, top-scored for the hosts with an aggressive 71 off 54 balls, hitting nine boundaries at the Junction Oval. —Agencies