KOCHI: India’s skipper Mithali Raj perfectly summed up what her side had just achieved on Sunday.
Although the visitors had already lost the series and were down 2-0 coming into the third and final ODI, there was enough motivation going into the final game. For them, this was not a dead rubber at Harrup Park.
“I was just telling the girls, Australia’s winning streak started against India, in India (in 2018), so now we are the ones who broke that streak,” said Mithali after India ended Australia’s unbeaten world record streak that now stands at 26. A remarkable performance spearheaded by youngsters Yastika Bhatia (64) and Shafali Varma (56) helped India script a two-wicket win as they chased down Australia’s total of 264/9.
It was also the India’shighest successful run chase to date and helps build confidence ahead of next year’s World Cup. Quite poetically, it was veteran Jhulan Goswami who scored the winning runs. Earlier, she had picked up three wickets to return with figures of 3 for 37 as the players stepped up to pull off a stunning win.
“Lots of soreness in my body, having played back-to-back games, need time to recover, but we’re looking forward to being a part of the first-ever pink-ball Test,” said Jhulan after her heroics. Despite losing the ODI series, with the defeat in the second ODI being particularly hard to take, the mental boost provided by this win going into the pink-ball Test will be immense as Australia was enjoying the longest winning streak (in both men’s and women’s format) in the ODIs. Prior to this, their last defeat came back in 2017 when they lost to England. Being unbeaten for nearly four years, they were not going to surrender such a streak that easily.
India had to work for it, but they stepped up, and the game went right down to the wire. It was eventually settled in the final over. Thanks to half-centuries from Ashleigh Gardner (67) and Beth Mooney (52), the hosts posted an imposing total of 264/9. Jhulan (3/37) and Pooja Vastrakar (3/46) were the standout bowlers for India.
Chasing a challenging total, India needed a strong start. Openers Shafali and Smriti Mandhana provided a good platform with a 59-run stand. After Smriti (22) departed, Shafali and Yastika combined to forge a century run stand that set the tone for India’s chase.
Brief scores: Australia 264/9 in 50 ovs (Ashleigh Gardner 67, Beth Mooney 52, Tahlia McGrath 47, Jhulan Goswami 3/37, Pooja Vastrakar 3/46) lost to India 266/8 in 49.3 ovs (Yastika Bhatia 64, Shafali Verma 56).