Women's World Cup: Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy shine as clinical Australia edge past India

Opener Alyssa Healy set up the chase and skipper Meg Lanning scored 97 to help Australia beat India by six wickets at Eden Park in Auckland

Published: 19th March 2022 02:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2022 03:20 PM   |  A+A-

Meg Lanning (Photo | AFP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Soon after the 2017 World Cup, Alyssa Healy was moved up the order and since then she has been the leading run-scorer for Australia in the format. In 38 games, she has scored over 50 every 2.5 innings. But, in the year leading up to the World Cup, she was blowing hot and cold, with just two fifties in nine innings. Even in the World Cup, she had one half-century against Pakistan with low scores on either side. Come the match against India, the real Alyssa Healy showed up.

The exquisite cover drives started flowing from Healy's bat as Indian pacers pitched the ball up, trying to swing the ball in a ground that has short straight boundaries. One on either side of the cover-point followed even after Mithali Raj packed the off-side after the early outburst. With rain forecast on the radar, she went after the bowlers from the first ball.

But both Jhulan Goswami and  Meghna Singh pulled their lengths back, giving her width as the cuts and pull shots took over. In no time, she had taken her side past the 50-run mark. When the spinners came on, Healy unleashed the sweeps, something she had been practising in the nets, through the long square boundaries.

With Rachael Haynes, too, joining the party, Healy reached her half-century in 49 balls. She kept the momentum going as Australia went past the 100-run mark in the 17th over. Healy swept Rajeshwari Gayakwad for three fours on either side of the square in that over.

Healy eventually fell for 70, trying to reverse sweep Sneh Rana. By that time, she had set up a platform for her side to build on. Although Haynes got out shortly after, skipper Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry picked it up and kept it going with no trouble.

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The Indian bowlers provided Lanning with width as she kept picking up boundaries through the point region. The duo looked comfortable in the middle as Lanning scored her fifty with ease, with Perry holding forte at the other end.

When the rain stopped play after 41 overs, Australia were 28 runs ahead of the DLS par score. Perry fell immediately after play resumed, but Lanning pulled Vastrakar for four a couple of deliveries later. With Mooney, she ensured that there was no drop in the run rate, hitting at least one boundary per over.

Lanning fell three runs short of her century to Meghna Singh as the match went into the last over with eight runs needed. However, Mooney kept her cool to pick up a couple of boundaries to finish off in style, and Australia won by six wickets.
Earlier, put in to bat first by Lanning, India had Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana opening the batting, with Deepti Sharma left out for the attacking opener. Mandhana was the first to fall to Darcie Brown, edging the pacer to first slip. Shafali hit a couple of glorious boundaries, but Beth Mooney took a blinder at gully to send the opener packing.

Yastika Bhatia and Mithali Raj took some time to get their eyes in before building a solid partnership. Together, they added 130 runs, bringing up their respective half-centuries. It was an important knock for Mithali, who was going through a string of poor scores. Yastika was the first to fall at 158 for three, but Mithali and Harmanpreet Kaur kept the momentum going.

Trying to up the run-rate, Mithali fell shortly after, and Rana followed her back to the pavilion. Harmanpreet, joined by Vastrakar, enjoyed batting against her favourite opposition as the duo took the Australian bowlers to the cleaners, especially through the leg-side.

In the 47 balls they batted together, the pair added 74 runs before Vastrakar got run out in the last ball of the innings. Harmanpreet brought up her third fifty-plus score of the tournament as she finished with 57 runs from 47 balls. Vastrakar made a 28-ball 34.

Brief scores: India 277/7 in 50 overs (Mithali 68, Yastika 59, Harmanpreet 57) lost to Australia 280/4 in 49.3 overs (Lanning 97, Healy 72) by six wickets.


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