31/05/2024

Australia's 35-game unbeaten streak has come to an end at the hands of India (Image: Australian Women's Cricket Team)

The excitement continues in Australia’s tour of India, with the hosts winning game two by four runs in the super over. In perfect batting conditions, both sides’ heavy hitters led from the front as India’s Smriti Mandhana was too strong for the Australian bowlers.

The Inner Sanctum looks at the five takeaways of the match ahead of Game Three.

Nitschke still finding her team

After Kim Garth’s debut in Game One, Nitschke is continuing to shuffle the team around and see the quality of the depth options in the absence of veterans Rachel Haynes and Meg Lanning.

Monday morning saw two more debutants join the Australian side, Cap No. 59 Heather Graham and Cap No. 60 Phoebe Litchfield.

Having her cap presented by Vice-Captain Tahlia McGrath, Graham scored 181 runs in WBBL08 at an average of 25. However, it was her bowling that impressed in Game Two. She took 3/22 off her four overs and was given the task of bowling the Super Over.

Litchfield’s debut was largely unmemorable thanks to the dominance of Australia’s top order, however her 280 runs in WBBL08 likely means Nitschke will want to see her in the Green and Gold during the tour.

The streak is over

The loss puts an end to Australia’s unbeaten run over all formats in 2022. Its last defeat came 35 games ago against India on an ODI on the 26th of September 2021, their T20 streak stretches 11 games, last losing to New Zealand on the 30th of March 2021.

One of the most dominant Australian sides, holding strong grips on the number one spot of the ICC rankings for both T20s and ODIs. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the loss when they return for Game Three on Thursday.

It took key absences, three debutants and a super-over for India to scrape over the line, expect the rest of the series to be just as exciting.

Mandhana delivers for India

After a comfortable 28 in the first innings of Game One, Smriti Mandhana had to watch Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath have two bites of the cherry on a pitch perfect for batting. There was a feeling of determination in the air as she strode to the crease to chase down 187.

She had the intent to score from the first over, taking Ash Gardner third ball for four. The very next over she took Kim Garth for another 12 runs. Accompanied by Shafali Verma at the other end, Mandhana took on the burden of scoring as she guided the ball through gaps in the Australian field.

She finished with 79 from 49 balls before being bowled by Sutherland in the 17th over. As the game finished level, she was sent back out to face the super over where she managed 13 off three to set Australia 21 to win.

Thrown in the deep end

Picked in the side for her all-round ability, but particularly for her batting performances for Hobart in WBBL08, Heather Graham was almost the unlikely hero on Monday morning. She was given the ball in the sixth over but didn’t look quite settled first up.

Her second over was much improved and saw her pick up her Maiden T20I wicket, and key Indian number three Jemimah Rodrigues. She continued her attack of the Indian batters, looking the most threatening of the bowlers. She picked up Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur as she finished with 3/22 off her four overs.

Looking to keep the success going over her innings, Nitschke and Healy agreed to give the debutant the responsibility of bowling the Super-Over. Unfortunately, Ghosh and Mandhana were striking the ball too well, and the pressure may have gotten to her as she managed 1-20 from the six balls.

Australian top order continues to impress

For the second game in a row, Australia got through their 20 overs only losing one wicket. Healy found herself back in the sheds after a solid start once again, despite scoring 62 runs at a strike rate of 163, it would be easy to feel disappointed watching her teammates cash in.

Mooney and McGrath continued the assault they started in Game one, the pair have now scored 258 runs without a dismissal. Mooney added another 82 to her series tally, putting her at 171 and striking at over 150.

McGrath took a more hands on-role to their innings in Game Two, as opposed to the accompaniment she provided in the first game. She struck 70 off just 51 balls as the pair cruised to a 150-run partnership.

If the Indians are going to have continued success in this series, they’ll need to find a way to get one of these two out.

The sides will meet again at 12:30 am Thursday morning for the third T20I in the five-match series. Australia will be looking to get back to winning ways at Brabourne Stadium, while the hosts will be hoping they can go back to back.

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