Weather intervened in the first T20I just as India was on the way to a monster score against Australia, but was it a case of too many cooks for Meg Lanning’s side?
Australia captain Meg Lanning will breathe a sigh of relief after rain halted India’s charge towards a massive total.
The first of three crucial T20’s at the Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium was abandoned due to rain, but not before the visitors again challenged Australia in this multi-format series.
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After both sides were awarded a point for the wash out, Australia now hold a 7-5 lead with India needing to win the remaining two T20’s to claim the series.
Momentum had swung India’s way during the drawn Test and it remained with the visitors after they were sent in to bat by Lanning.
It was the first T20 match between the two sides since Australia’s triumphant World Cup win 18 months ago at the MCG.
India were further buoyed by the return of Harmanpreet Kaur to the side and the T20 captain would have been delighted to see Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma power their side to a dominant start.
Verma in particular was brutal as she smashed three sixes in her innings.
Both openers eventually fell to Ash Gardner, but the foundation was set for Jemimah Rodrigues and Kaur to accelerate the innings.
Kaur got herself off the mark with back-to-back boundaries before she was trapped LBW by Sophie Molineux for 12, while the impressive Rodrigues then turned aggressor.
But her stellar innings was cut short one run shy of a half-century when heavy rain suspended, and ultimately ended, play with India 4/131 and on course for a big total.
With Australia’s side stacked with all rounders, it was perhaps a case of too many options for Lanning. Tahlia McGrath and Hannah Darlington were handed their T20 debuts, while speedster Tayla Vlaeminck returned to play her first match since April.
Lanning rotated through eight bowlers with mixed success and it was curious that the most economical of them, Ellyse Perry, wasn’t given more than the one over. Equally, Georgia Wareham also completed just the one over despite picking up the wicket of Yastika Bhatia.
GARDNER AMONG BEST
Ashleigh Gardner is quickly proving herself to be one of the world’s best all rounders. With India off to a brutal start with the bat, it was the 24-year-old Gardner who made the breakthrough and went on to claim the crucial wickets of openers Mandhana (17) and Verma (18). It was also the seventh time Gardner has dismissed Mandhana.
With Rachael Haynes unavailable for the T20’s, Gardner is expected to move up the batting order. Already known as a T20 matchwinner, she will no doubt be crucial to Australia’s hopes in the final two T20’s.
Originally published as Australia v India Women T20 international: Wash out ruins hopes of result