Australia’s women have lost their first match all year, across all formats, going down to India in a super over in the second T20 in Mumbai.
But it wasn’t without some controversy. Needing 11 off the final ball of the super over and in front of a sell-out 45,000-strong crowd, Alyssa Healy went deep in her crease and belted a waist-high full toss for six over square leg.
She immediately appealed for it to be called a no-ball, but umpires weren’t interested.
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No replays were shown on the broadcast, which was produced by the BCCI.
After the match, Healy said the Aussies didn’t make the most of their chances in the field, but was glowing of the massive crowd that showed up.
“What a great advertisement for women’s cricket this has been, with 40,000 people here tonight,” she said.
“I think we missed a bit with the ball, gave them a chase. We did well to hang in there in the end and get it to the Super Over, India were all over us in that chase.
“We fought well to get us to that position, fought till the very end.”
The official match attendance was 45,238. It was the biggest crowd at a women’s match in India since 2018.
By comparison, match attendance across all five days of the first Test between Australia and the West Indies in Perth was just 42,517. Attendance across the four days in Adelaide was 86,617.
Batting first, Healy got the Aussies off to a flyer before she was caught in the fourth over.
Beth Mooney was then joined by Tahlia McGrath, and the pair combined for Australia’s highest ever T20I stand. They plundered 158 to set India a target of 188.
In reply, it took the Aussies until the ninth over to make a breakthrough, but not before Shafali Verma was given a life by Megan Schutt when she was on 20. Several other missed half-chances didn’t help Australia’s cause.
Smriti Mandhana then took the Aussie attack apart, belting 79 off just 49 before she bizarrely chopped on trying to hit Annabel Sutherland over the wicketkeeper’s head.
Still requiring 40 off the last 21 balls, 19-year-old Richa Ghosh smashed three sixes in her first six balls to reduce the equation to just 18 off the final two overs.
Debutant Heather Graham (3-22) gave a perfect example of death bowling, taking the wicket of Deepti Sharma and conceding just four runs.
Megan Schutt was given the ball for the final over. Ghosh and Devika Vaidya then batted brilliantly to get the equation down to five off the final ball.
Schutt bowled almost a perfect yorker, but Vaidya managed to squeeze it out, and the ball raced past point for four to tie the match.
India beat first in the Super Over, which was bowled by Graham. Ghosh spanked a monster six over long-on first ball, but skied the second and was caught.
Harmanpreet Kaur got a single off her first ball, handing the strike to Mandhana, who belted the last three balls for four, six and three, to set the Aussies 21 to win.
Healy hit the first ball for four, before scoring only a single off the second. When Ashleigh Gardner was caught at long-off from the third ball, the match was all but over. Healy needed 15 to win from the final two balls. She hit them for four and six, but it wasn’t enough.
Graham said she wasn’t expecting to bowl the super over, especially in front of the “unbelievable” crowd.
“It was extremely challenging, the wicket just got better and the outfield was lightning quick with short boundaries, so as a bowler it wasn’t too fun,” she said.
“I thought it might have been (Schutt) who got the nod to bowl, but (captain Alyssa Healy) looked over and said ‘you’re bowling the super over’.
“I’ve had some experience with that in the WBBL. Unfortunately, it didn’t come off today.
“We just take massive learnings from that … to battle through our bowling and take it to a super over.
“I turned to Phoebe (Litchfield) who was on debut as well and I just said ‘this is insane’ and to soak it all in.”
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