Mithali Raj leads from the front, ensures a victory for Indian eves at Hobart: Team India skipper, Mithali Raj, led from the front and scored 89 runs off 113 deliveries studded with 12 hits to the fence. She made sure that the team ended the tour on a winning note.
Having won the T20I series, 2-1, Indians had trouble waiting for them in the ODIs. Trailing 0-2 in the three-match series, the Indian eves went into the third and final game with a view to avoid a ‘white-wash’ and also to end the tour ‘on a high’
This they accomplished by restricting their Australian counterpart, who had opted to bat first, to a score of 231 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 50 overs.
Led by the bowling spearhead Jhulan Goswami (10-1-33-1), who provided the initial break-through by removing Nicole Boulton (9) in the third delivery of the seventh over at the team score of 25/1, the medium pacer, Shikha Pandey (10-0-50-3) and the left-arm spinner, Rajeshwari Gayakwad (10-1-41-2) literally put the brakes and restricted their total.
However, this was not before the Aussie pair of Elysse Perry and Alex Blackwell, the two most consistent batswomen, put up a third-wicket partnership of 99 runs in 20.1 overs.
They came together at the team score of 43/2 in 14.1 overs and remained together till the scoreboard read 142/3 in 34.2 overs, when Blackwell departed, caught by Gayakwad off the bowing of Pandey, after scoring 60 runs off 64 deliveries with 7 fours.
Her half century, the 20th in ODI, came in 58 deliveries with 5 fours. She moved from 48 to 52 by way of a boundary off Pandey.
Perry continued the onslaught from one end until she fell ‘caught and bowled’ to Pandey in the penultimate delivery of the 39th over of the innings. Perry scored 50 runs, her 11th ODI half-ton, in 92 deliveries with 3 hits to the fence.
Jess Jonassen (32*), remaining unbeaten, was involved in a sixth-wicket partnership of 31 runs in 4.3 overs alongwith the wicketkeeper Alyssa Healey (21).
However, the seventh-wicket unbroken partnership between Jonassen and Rene Farrell (29*) that realised 45*runs in 6.3 overs enabled the Aussies to set a target of 232 runs for India.
The Indian eves reacted very positively and even though the lost the make-shift opener, Veda Krishnamurthy (12) in the beginning of the seventh over, the duo of Smriti Mandhana (55) and Mithali Raj put up the second-wicket partnership of 58 runs in 15.3 overs, when Mandhana fell to Kirsten Beams. Mandhana’s fourth ODI half-century came in 47 deliveries with 7 fours.
Mithali and Harmanpreet Kaur (22) then added another 71 runs in 12.5 overs for the third wicket until Kaur was dismissed by Perry in the 35th over.
Adding another 31 runs for the fourth wicket in 7.5 overs, alongwith Poonam Raut, the skipper Raj was unfortunately ‘run out’ in the 42nd over. By then India had reached the total of 196 runs for the loss of 4 wickets. They just needed another 36 runs in 52 deliveries. Shikha Pandey added 17 of those runs.
The balance runs were easily achieved by the unbeaten duo of Raut (24*) and Jhulan Goswami (4*), who whacked a boundary off the last delivery of the 47th over to romp home.
Indian eves won the match by 5 wickets with 18 deliveries to spare. Aussies won the series 2-1.
The Indian skipper, Mithali Raj was adjudged the Player of the Match while Elysse Perry, who scored 171 runs in three matches and picked up 9 wickets was awarded the Player of the Series.