Australia beat India by 5 wickets in thriller

Mackay (Australia), Sep 24 (PTI): India and their premier bowler Jhulan Goswami failed to keep their nerves in a dramatic final over as Beth Mooney’s brilliant unbeaten hundred ensured a five-wicket win for Australia — their 26th on the trot — in the second women’s ODI here on Friday.
Australia thus took a 2-0 lead in the three-match WODI series and India’s fragile bowling attack will now come under the scanner.
It was a match that was in India’s pocket till the 25th over of the Australian innings but Mooney, with an unbeaten 125, stunned the visitors in the third highest chase of all-time in women’s cricket by knocking off a target of 275.
In fact, the Indian team prematurely celebrated when Goswami’s waist high full-toss was hit straight to mid-wicket by Mooney but, to their horror, it turned out to be a no-ball. It was marginal as Goswami’s last ball was sent towards wide long-on for a couple to finish the match.
With 13 needed off the last over, old guard Goswami was handed the ball with Mooney (125 off 133 balls) and Nicola Carey (39 not out off 38 balls) on the rampage on a dew-laden night.
Keeper Richa Ghosh and Poonam Yadav were put under extreme pressure as they got five off first two and Goswami accidentally bowled a beamer that hit Carey flush on the helmet with the umpire rightly signalling a no-ball.
It was the highest total scored against Australia since their winning streak started in 2018 but Indian bowlers undid all the good job by the batters.
Goswami bowled an absolute ripper that cut Alyssa Healy (0) into half while skipper Meg Lanning (6) was dismissed by Meghna Singh when Rajeshwari Gayakwad took a fine catch in the deep.
Puja Vastrakar then effected a diving run out of Elyse Perry while Gayakwad got her name on wicket-taker’s list to see the back of Ashleigh Gardner with the Southern Stars reeling.
Mooney and Tahlia McGrath (74 off 77 balls) consolidated in style during their 126-run fifth-wicket stand. While Gayakwad was steady with her wicket-to-wicket lines, young Meghna and seasoned Jhulan also tried keeping things tight.
Yadav (6-0-38-0), who has not been in best of form throughout 2021, and Sharma (9-0-60-1) were not very consistent with their lines in their first spells as runs started flowing post the 25th over. Ditto for Puja Vastrakar (8-0-43-1), who also erred in length, giving away a lot of boundary balls.
Earlier, opener Smriti Mandhana hit a patient 86 to guide India to a competitive 274 for seven against the hosts.
Mandhana hit 11 boundaries to register her 19th half-century after the visitors were sent in to bat.
She shared two crucial partnerships — 76 runs with Richa Ghosh (44) and 74 runs with Shafali Verma (22) — to help India set up a competitive total.

Brief Scores:
India 274 for 7 in 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 86, Richa Ghosh 44; Tahlia McGrath (3/45), Sophie Molineux (2/28), Darcie Brown (1/63)
Australia: 275/5 in 50 overs (Beth Mooney 125 not out, Tahlia McGrath 74).

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