It was heartbreak for the Indian women’s cricket team. They succumbed to pressure as Australia extended their world-record winning streak in One Day Internationals to 26 by winning the second ODI at Mackay by five wickets in what turned out to be last-ball thriller.
Australia needed 13 runs off the last over from Jhulan Goswami when a couple of sloppy let-ups in the field gave Australia the advantage.
It boiled down to 3 runs off the last ball when Goswami bowled a full toss to Carey, which the left-hander hit it straight to square-leg. The catch was taken but the third umpire adjudged it a no ball as it was over the waist.
Australia needed two runs in the last ball. Carey hit it towards long and ran for a couple to complete a sensational victory. India fell agonizingly short of becoming the first side to beat Australia in ODIs since October, 2017.
Opener Beth Mooney was the start of the show with an unbeaten 125. She was helped by Tahil McGrath (74) and Nicola Carey (39*).
After posting a competitive 275-run target for the strong Australian batting line-up, the Indian women’s team got a brilliant start with the ball as veteran Jhulan Goswami struck in the first over to remove Alyssa Healy for a duck.
Young Meghna Singh then removed Australia captain Meg Lanning to reduce them to 11 for 2.
All-rounder Ellyse Perry was run out for 2 and Pooja Vastrakar then got the important wicket of Ash Gardner for 12. Australia were 52 for 4 at one stage but from there on opener Beth Mooney struck a brilliant partnership with Tahil McGrath that brought Australia back in the game.
Earlier, Mandhana showed class at the top as she looked all set to reach the three-figure mark. While the opener fell short by 14 runs, a 50-ball 44 by Richa Ghosh and a late flourish from Jhulan and Pooja Vastrakar (29 off 37 balls) helped India reach a total they will look to defend with confidence.
Australia skipper Meg Lanning won the toss and elected to field. India openers Mandhana and Shafali Verma got off to a quality start as they put on 68/0 in the first 10 overs. While Shafali is known to be the aggressor, it was Mandhana who looked to take on the Australian bowlers as he raced to 44 off 40 balls in the first 10.
Just when it looked like India would further strengthen the position at the top, Molineux sent Shafali packing for 22 against the run of play in the 12th over. Skipper Mithali Raj was unlucky as there was huge mix-up that saw her caught short of her crease and she had to walk back to the pavilion for a 23-ball 8.
But Mandhana combined with the other batters to ensure that India didn’t fall short of the 250-run mark in the second game. For Australia, while Tahlia McGrath finished with figures of 3/45, Sophie Molineux picked two for 28.
(With ANI inputs)