Australia 6 for 104 (Perry 49) beat India 9 for 103 (Mandhana 35, Perry 4-13) by 4 wickets
A classy all-round display from Ellyse Perry guided Australia to a nervy four-wicket win over India in Canberra. Perry took 4 for 13 with the ball and made 49 from 47 with the bat to control an unconvincing chase and leave the tri-series tied up after three matches with Australia, England, and India locked on one win apiece.
Tayla Vlaeminck took a career-best 3 for 13 as the Australian pair's extra pace and bounce caused India to lose five wickets in 10 balls after a solid but sluggish foundation. Smriti Mandhana clubbed 35 from 23 balls but struggled get on strike as India scored less than six runs an over prior to the collapse in the 14th over.
Australia's chase was equally untidy. They slumped to 3 for 30 in the powerplay before Perry steadied the ship as panic set in around her against a disciplined unit that was led by Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who took 2 for 18 from four overs. Perry struck eight boundaries and kept the ball along the ground up until she holed out trying to find the winning runs in the 18th over. But Nicola Carey and Annabel Sutherland ensured the game never reached the 20th over.
Mandhana muffled by a lack of strike
Megan Schutt is world's no.1 T20I bowler but after copping a hammering against England on Saturday she was once again lined up by Mandhana and Shafali Verma in the opening over. Schutt was thumped three times down the ground, twice by Mandhana, as the over cost 15. Verma was clean bowled by Perry in the next over losing her shape trying to repeat the dose. Mandhana kept rolling but she got very little support from Jemimah Rodrigues or Harmanpreet Kaur. Rodrigues faced 11 consecutive deliveries and scored one run. The extra pace of Vlaeminck caused her a lot of concern before she was caught at third man. Mandhana struck three fours and two sixes in her 23-ball innings but she was actually out there for nearly 10 overs as Kaur crawled at the other end. Mandhana fell trying to clear the rope for a second time in the 10th over from Jess Jonassen and it sparked a collapse.
Too quick and too good
Rachael Haynes, Australia's stand-in captain after Meg Lanning was ruled out with a back problem, turned back to her quicks in the 14th and 15th over and they took 5 wickets in 10 balls. Perry benefitted from a spate of poor shots with Kaur, Taniya Bhatia and Deepti Sharma chipping the ball in the air straight to fielders at backward point and third man. Vlaeminck's extra pace troubled India's batters as she reached speeds of 120kph. Veda Krishnamurthy miscued trying to loft down the ground without giving herself so much as a look at Vlaeminck's speed before Arundhati Reddy was undone by some hostile short stuff. Carey and Beth Mooney became the first non-wicketkeeping team-mates in women's T20 internationals to claim three catches each in an innings. India slumped to 8 for 82 but did well to survive the 20 overs as Australia dropped two catches and missed an easy stumping in the final three overs.
Australia started the chase in a similar fashion to India's innings. Alyssa Healy chipped a ball to cover after absorbing three dots in the first over. Ash Gardner hit the ball crisply cracking three boundaries and a six in the powerplay but Mooney, like Kaur and Rodrigues, struggled to rotate the strike, scoring just 6 off 13 balls, which include a boundary. She was stumped off a beautiful piece of bowling from Sharma who lured her out with some fabulous loop and drop. Gardner then made an error against Gayakwad playing back to a quicker ball that slid on and crashed into off stump. That left Australia 3 for 31 at the end of the powerplay.
Perry the professional
Perry's slower starts is part of the reason she bats down the order in T20I's despite her dominance as an opener in WBBL cricket. She took her time as the pressure built but understood the required rate was under five. Haynes was not as assured, nearly running herself out trying to rotate the strike before holing out to a wild slog having faced two dots in a row off Reddy. Perry had some luck in the 12th over, beaten three times by Shikha Pandey but she did not miss any bad balls. While India were disciplined for large parts the odd short ball relieved the pressure and Perry was able to chip away at the chase without unnecessary risk. She lost Jonassen who tried to take on Gayakwad with 22 needed from 33 balls and waited until the 18th over where she got two bad balls to put away.