Rolton helps Australia clinch tense victory
Australia Women 142 for 4 (Rolton 44*, Nitschke 49) beat India Women 140 for 4 (Raj 51*, Naik 32) by two runs
Mithali Raj's unbeaten fifty went in vain as India Women fell short by two runs in the one-off Twenty20 international against Australia Women at the Hurstville Oval. Karen Rolton, the Australian captain, set up the victory by pushing her team to 142 and the Indians failed to chase down the target despite having six wickets in hand.
After being put in to bat Australia's openers, Shelley Nitschke and Alex Blackwell, got their team off to a strong start by adding 49 for the first wicket. Nitschke looked set for a half-century but fell one run short. Nooshin Al Khadeer, the offspinner, ended Nitschke's innings and her spin partner, Gouher Sultana, struck two more blows in quick succession to reduce Australia to 96 for 4 in the 16th over. Rolton, however, picked up the pace in the final two overs and her cameo - 44 off 23 balls - included eight fours.
In reply, India were pegged back early and were 11 for 2 before they were steadied by a partnership of 46 between Raj and Sulakshana Naik. Jhulan Goswami joined Raj at 80 for 4 in the 14th over but the pair failed to see the side through. India needed six off the final ball to tie the game but Raj could only manage a boundary. Goswami finished with an unbeaten 27 while Raj was on 51 off 45 balls.
"Quite a few Twenty20 games are very tight and it seems to be the nature of the game that results finish up that way," Rolton, who was the Player of the Match, said after the game. "They got a run-on late in their innings but I thought we protected the boundaries well at the end.
"It was good batting performance to post the score we did. We were a bowler down due to Shelley Nitschke's injury which made it difficult, but it was good experience heading into the first one-day match on Friday (at the same venue)."