'They showed us how to play T20 today' - Alyssa Healy
In an age where technology and cricket go hand in hand to reduce the element of surprise, Australia Women have admitted that not knowing enough about their Indian counterparts contributed to the defeat in the first T20I in Adelaide.
Australia put up a challenging 140 for 5 on the board with wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy slamming 41 off only 15 balls. India have never chased as much in Women's T20I cricket, but they had no trouble with Harmanpreet Kaur's 36-ball 41 leading them to victory with five wickets and 10 balls to spare. It was also Australia's first loss in any format at home since the 2013-14 Ashes.
"It's a little hard not playing them very often, I had to do some homework on one player, taking hours to look through YouTube," Healy said after the match. "They played with some real freedom and obviously with that fight we know have and they showed us how to play T20 cricket today."
India and Australia have not played each other since September 2012 and Australia coach Matthew Mott had highlighted the danger of facing a potentially unknown team. "Their squad has changed quite a bit since the last time we played them, with a few new names and young faces we're not familiar with," he said last month and the team was asked to do research India's players before the three T20Is and three ODIs began.
However, it was a familiar face that controlled India's chase. Harmanpreet has played four 50-overs and nine 20-overs matches against Australia prior to today and had struck three half-centuries along the way. In Adelaide, she held firm amid a brief middle-order wobble as India lost three wickets for 29 runs and the equation became 50 needed off 36 balls.
"At one stage the run rate (required by India) was over eight, we'd be pretty comfortable with that but Harmanpreet played an incredible innings and found the boundary with ease," Healy said.
Harmanpreet herself was more thankful that her colleagues had provided a strong start that could be build on. India had progressed steadily to 62 for 2 when she came in during the 10th over. "They gave us a good start. We were going at six per over and we needed eight per over. I just wanted to keep on rotating the strike initially and later on I went into my full flow for boundaries."