Gold Coast: An unbeaten 44 off 31 balls by Tahlia McGrath apart from 61 of 43 balls by Beth Mooney followed by consistent strikes from the bowlers helped Australia to a 14-run win over India in the third and final T20I at the Metricon Stadium here Sunday. The victory also meant that Australia finished the multi-format series on a high, winning by 11-5.
Chasing 150, Smriti Mandhana smashed 52 off 49 balls after starting slow in the power-play and losing Shafali Verma cheaply. She also shared a stand of 57 runs with Jemimah Rodrigues (23 off 26 balls) for the second wicket to keep India in the hunt.
Smriti’s dismissal off Nicola Carey in the 15th over triggered a slide for India, losing Harmanpreet Kaur (13), Pooja Vastrakar (5) and Harleen Deol (2) in three successive overs for just 10 runs. Richa Ghosh remained unbeaten on 23 off 11 balls in a late cameo with four boundaries. But at the end, 150 proved to be too much for India to hunt down.
Earlier, Beth and Tahlia scored critical knocks to post a respectable total for Australia, who were 73/4 in 11.1 overs. In desperate need of a fightback, Beth and and Tahlia joined forces for a 44-run partnership in 6.1 overs. Tahlia started off with a slog-sweep off Rajeshwari Gayakwad through square leg. Mooney, who geared up with a hat-trick of boundaries against Harmanpreet Kaur in the eighth over, reached her half-century with a creamy cover drive off Renuka Singh.
Though Beth fell in the 18th over when Harmanpreet pulled off a brilliant diving forward one-handed catch off Rajeshwari, Tahlia along with Georgia Wareham ensured that Rajeshwari’s over costed 16 runs. Shikha Pandey and Deepti Sharma leaked 10 runs each in the final two overs Tahlia’s late onslaught pushed the target out of India’s reach.
Brief scores: Australia 149/5 in 20 overs (Beth Mooney 61, Tahlia McGrath 44 not out, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/37, Renuka Singh 1/23) beat India 135/6 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 52, Richa Ghosh 23 not out, Nicola Carey 2/42, Annabel Sutherland 1/13) by 14 runs.