Australia have survived a lively Indian fightback to win the second Twenty20 international by four wickets, securing an unassailable 9-5 lead in the multi-format series.
- Australia wins the victory with five balls left
- Tahlia McGrath impresses for the hosts with an unbeaten 42
- Australia had limited India to 9-118 from its 20 overs
The tense finish had proved unlikely after Australia reduced India to 9-81 during its innings before late blows by Pooja Vastrakar lifted the tourists’ score to 9-118 in Carrara on the Gold Coast.
Australia fell to 4-46 midway through their race chase, but Tahlia McGrath — who made her international T20 debut in Thursday’s washed-out match — scored an unbeaten 42 to see the home side reach the 119-goal winning streak with five balls left.
After Australian captain Meg Lanning won his sixth straight throw in the series, the Indians were in early trouble as openers Smriti Mandhana (1) and Shafali Verma (3) both fell to the pace of Tayla Vlaeminck (2-18).
India’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur hit Ellyse Perry – making her record 252nd international appearance for Australia – for three limits in an over.
When Kaur was blunted by bowling in Georgia Wareham (1-14) to 28, India were 4-50.
Worse was to come when Vastrakar and Deepti Sharma finished at the same end as Alyssa Healy removed the hangers in the other.
The third judge was then asked to decide which of the two Indians had first reached the height.
It was Deepti (16) who had to give way so Vastrakar could pull his team to a solid score with an unbeaten 37, which included three boundaries and two sixes.
Australia’s confidence in chasing the races would have been shaken when Healy (4) received a brute of a pass from Shikha Pandey (1-27) who hurt the seam and bowled the opening.
Spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad came on the field to remove Lanning (15), and when Ash Gardner (1) and Perry (2) fell cheaply, the hosts were about to wind up.
Beth Mooney’s dismissal of 34 – stumped off Rajeshwari – threw even more dismay among the Australian camp.
But McGrath rose up and was fit to strike as Australia picked up the win after the first ball in the final over to secure the win and the series for the hosts.
Australia and India meet in the final T20 international match at Carrara on Sunday night.
AAP / ABC