Recent Match Report – India (W) vs AUS WMN 2nd ODI 2023/24

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Australia 258 for 8 (Litchfield 63, Perry 50, Deepti 5-38) beat India 255 for 8 (Ghosh 96, Sutherland 3-47, Wareham 2-39) by three runs

A total of 11 catches were dropped in Mumbai. First, India put down seven and as if to return the favour a bit, Australia spilled four. But Phoebe Litchfield took a stunner for the visitors when it mattered most, ending a crucial 88-run stand for India when they needed another 100 with 17 overs and eight wickets remaining. That went a long way in Australia scraping through by three runs in the second ODI, and with that, winning the series.

The batter to be dismissed was Jemimah Rodrigues for 44, as Litchfield dived full stretch across to her right at short extra cover. Richa Ghosh, with whom Rodrigues had that stand, later made up for lost time to hit 96 from 117 balls after being 54 off 84 at one stage. But with the game still in the balance, and India requiring 41 more from 38 deliveries with six wickets in hand, even Ghosh’s catch was well intercepted by Litchfield while moving to her left in a packed off-side ring.

That pretty much decided the outcome, as India paid for poor catching and slowing down with the bat. Although Ghosh sped up despite cramping, Georgia Wareham, who had dismissed Rodrigues, struck soon after to have Harmanpreet Kaur tickle behind to Alyssa Healy for 5. Ghosh tried to counterattack in a 47-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Deepti Sharma, but Australia kept striking at regular intervals, thus putting Deepti’s second ODI five-for in vain.

India had a chance until as late as 47 overs into their chase, after which they were only 22 away. But Annabel Sutherland, who had already got Ghosh, held her nerve to concede just three singles and also remove Pooja Vastrakar, who was coming off a 47-ball 62 from 47 in the first ODI. India never got back on track after that, eventually leaving them wondering what would have been had all those catches gone to hand.

For a few tense moments, that thought must have crossed Australia’s minds too, who had given Ghosh a life each on 0 and 36. The first one came from Litchfield herself, putting one down at first slip in the eighth over. Next, it was Sutherland who dropped one in the 27th. That allowed Ghosh to keep ticking steadily, as she avoided risks in a patient start to her innings where she hit just two boundaries from her first 52 deliveries.

Even Rodrigues didn’t entirely seem busy at the other end, as the required run rate kept ticking over. But with the game well under India’s control, Litchfield struck like lightning and halted India’s calmly moving train. That, after she had hit 63 with the bat. Litchfield was the beneficiary on three of India’s seven drops, getting a life on 0, 9 and 15. Although she consumed 98 deliveries, it was a challenging pitch to bat on at the Wankhede Stadium, where the ball turned and gripped aplenty for Deepti.

India’s spinners applied the brakes in the middle overs, as Australia stumbled from 117 for 1 in the 24th over to 180 for 6 in the 40th. The slowdown happened once India bowled spin from both ends, although Deepti’s 5 for 38 stood in contrast to debutant Shreyanka Patil and Sneh Rana, who combined figures of 2 for 102 from their 20 overs.

But while the spinners kept Australia quiet, Ellyse Perry kept the pace up. She had flicked and flashed her way to 28 from her first 23 balls. Perry eventually fell for 50 from 47, with Deepti ending her animated stay at the crease in the 24th over. That wicket started Australia’s slide, as Deepti then trapped Beth Mooney, who missed an attempted sweep off a quicker delivery.

Patil too got into the wickets in the 34th over, when Litchfield got the toe end of the bat behind to Richa in an attempt to sweep. Rana also struck to get Ashleigh Gardner for 2, after which came Deepti’s best of the lot. She tossed one up enticingly at Tahlia McGrath in the 40th over. The ball dipped and landed just outside the off stump, turning in enough to smash into the stumps with McGrath unsure of whether to come forward or go back.

At 180 for 6, Wareham and Sutherland briefly steadied Australia with a 36-run partnership, before Wareham chipped one off Deepti to Smriti Mandhana – who had dropped two catches earlier – at midwicket to start the 46th over.

Four balls later, Deepti completed her five-for with a return catch of Sutherland. Australia were 219 for 8 with another 25 balls remaining, and Alana King made full use of that. She swung three sixes – and with that, the momentum – in an unbeaten 28 from 17 balls which helped Australia to 258.
Thus, King’s knock, Litchfield and Perry’s fifties, and a lot of help from India took Australia to victory, with India yet to beat them in a bilateral ODI series.

Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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