Mackay: India’s young batters Yastika Bhatia and Shafali Verma dazzled at the top with contrasting half-centuries to power their team to a consolation two-wicket victory over Australia in the third women’s ODI, which ended the home team’s 26-match unbeaten streak here on Sunday.
The visitors completed a tricky chase of 265 — their highest-ever — in the last over, gaining some lost ground ahead of the upcoming day/night Test, after conceding the three-match series in their previous outing.
The result meant Australia’s record-breaking winning run ended at 26.
Chasing a challenging target, India got the start they needed, thanks to a 59-run stand for the opening wicket between Verma (56) and Smriti Mandhana (22) in just under 11 overs.
Coming off an excellent half-century some time ago, Ashleigh Gardner broke the partnership when she had Mandhana caught by Annabel Sutherland.
Bhatia (64) joined Verma in the middle and the two forged a fine partnership and carried on the good work without any difficulty.
After 25 overs, India were comfortably placed at 131 for one with the visiting batters hitting a boundary every over.
Known for her free-flowing game, the 17-year-old Verma seemed to have made a conscious decision to bat deep but battling what appeared to be back pain and exhaustion, the teenager from Rohtak gave in after reaching her maiden half-century in the format off 86 balls, ending a fruitful 101-run association with Bhatia.
Playing in only her third ODI, Bhatia, 21, was the aggressor in the chase and brought up her first half-century in 56 balls. Although there was a fumble after Bhatia and Verma’s departures, Sneh Rana (30) and Deepti Sharma (31) quickly added 33 crucial runs down the order, enough for the ones who followed them to see the team through.
Earlier, Indian bowlers again let Australia off the hook as the home team recovered from a wobble to post a competitive 264 for nine.
Struggling at 87 for four in the 25th over, the hosts recovered through a 98-run stand between Ashleigh Gardner (67) and last-match centurion Beth Mooney (52).
Brief scores: Australia 264/9 in 50 overs (Alyssa Healy 35, Beth Mooney 52, Ashleigh Gardner 67, Tahlia McGrath 47; Jhulan Goswami 3/37) lost to India 266/8 in 49.3 overs (Shafali Verma 56, Yastika Bhatia 64, Deepti Sharma 31, Sneh Rana 30; Annabel Sutherland 3/30)
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