Australia Women 173 for 1 (Mooney 89*, McGrath 40, Vaidya 1-33) beat India Women 172 for 5 (Deepti 36*, Ghosh 36, Perry 2-10) by nine wickets
's unbeaten 89 powered Australia to a nine-wicket victory against India with 11 balls to spare in the first of the five-match T20I series. Mooney and Tahlia McGrath
shared an unbroken 100-run stand off 56 balls for the second wicket to steal the show after Deepti Sharma
and Richa Ghosh
's fireworks had helped India post a competitive172 for 5.
The successful chase meant Australia are yet to lose a match this year in any format. In T20Is, this was their ninth win in 12 matches
, with three games producing no result.
Ghosh, Deepti's late flourish after rapid start
After being put in, Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma provided a brisk start to India, with Verma hitting two fours and two sixes in her 21 off ten balls. Jemimah Rodrigues was out for a six-ball duck in the fifth over when she mistimed Ellyse Perry to mid-on. But Mandhana's 28 off 22, despite initially struggling to time the ball, took India to 48 for 2 at the end of the powerplay.
Australia pulled things back in the middle phase, with Annabel Sutherland dismissing Mandhana in the eighth over. Harmanpreet Kaur tried to steady the innings with a 23-ball 21 but was dismissed in the 12th over when she tried to loft debutant Kim Garth over cover but ended up hitting straight to the fielder.
At 76 for 4, Ghosh changed the momentum of the innings, slamming 36 in just 20 deliveries with the help of five fours and two sixes. With Devika Vaidya, who was playing a T20I after eight years, Ghosh stitched together a crucial 56-run stand for the fifth wicket.
After Ghosh was stumped off Ashleigh Gardner in the 17th over, Deepti went berserk straightaway. The allrounder struck two fours in each of the 18th and 19th overs before hammering four successive fours off Megan Schutt in the 20th to take India to a competitive total. Eight boundaries in 15 deliveries meant Deepti finished unbeaten on 36, while Vaidya remained unbeaten on 25 off 24.
The Australian chase
Like India, Australia also started well with stand-in captain Alyssa Healy and Mooney keen on utilising the powerplay to the fullest. Healy picked up the gaps nicely and punished the loose deliveries to score a 23-ball 37, filled with four fours and two sixes. She and Mooney put on a 73-run stand before Vaidya removed Healy via a soft dismissal; Healy hit a full toss straight to Harmanpreet at cover.
The wicket didn't tilt the momentum for India as Mooney and McGrath kept finding boundaries to keep the scorecard moving. India's sloppy fielding, and the dew, didn't help them either.
The chase looked fairly easy, largely due to Mooney pacing her innings well. Having begun on a steady note, she unfurled well-timed cover drives, pulls and punches off the backfoot to blunt the Indian attack. From 81 for 1 after ten overs, it was a walk in the park for Australia as they brought down the required run rate from ten to 7.4 by the end of 15 overs.
Mooney's 57-ball knock contained 16 fours, while McGrath slammed four fours and a six in her 29-ball innings.
Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo