1st T20I: Smriti, Shafali fifties after Titas Sadhu’s four-fer helps India romp to nine-wicket win

Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma struck half-centuries and shared a 137-run partnership for the opening wicket as India Women outplayed Australia Women by nine wickets in the first T20I and gained a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at the DY Patil Stadium here on Friday.

After young pacer Titas Sadhu had claimed a four-fer and spinners Shreyanka Patil and Deepti Sharma claimed a brace each as India Women bundled out Australia Women, the reigning Women’s T20 World Cup champions, for 141 in 19.2 overs the hosts won the toss and elected to field first.

Chasing 142, Smriti Mandhana scored 54 off 52 balls while Shafali Verma hammered an unbeaten 44-ball 64 as they added 137 runs for the opening wicket as India Women reached 145/1 in 17.4 overs, claiming victory with 14 balls to spare.

Sadhu claimed 4-17 in her four overs while off-spinners Shreyanka Patil 2-19 and Deepti Sharma 2-24 contributed a brace of wickets as Australia Women failed to capitalise on a mid-innings recovery before losing four wickets for six runs in the last couple of overs.

Australia Women started on a dismal note, losing opener Beth Mooney (17) caught by skipper Harmanpreet Kaur off Sadhu. Harmanpreet also picked the catch of Australia skipper Alyssa Healy for eight, caught in the slip off Renuka Singh as the visitors slumped to 32/2 in the fifth over.

Tahila McGrath and Ashleigh Gardner were out for zone each as Australia slipped to 33/4 in the sixth over. Ellyse Perry (37) and Phoebe Litchfield (49) took the score to 112, adding 79 runs for the fifth-wicket partnership.

Australia lost their last six wickets for 29 runs for another collapse as they were bowled out for 141.

India got off to a superb start as Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma shared another 100-run partnership for the opening wicket.

Smriti scored 54 off 52 balls, hitting seven boundaries and one six before being caught by Tahila McGrath off pacer Georgia Wareham.

They blazed to 59 runs in the Powerplay without losing any wickets as India reached fifty off 32 balls. They took the score to 100 runs in the 12th over, reaching the mark off 69 balls with Smriti Mandhana scoring 38 runs and Shafali Verma hammering 49 runs in the process.

Shafali, who was dropped for the three-match ODI series that Australia won 3-0, was the first to reach her half-century off 32 balls, hitting six boundaries and two sixes. Mandhana was not far behind as she completed a run-a-ball fifty, hitting six boundaries and one maximum.

Smriti was out for 137, caught by McGrath near the boundary rope as she went for a slog-sweep off a full-length delivery outside off-stump by Wareham.

With just five runs needed for victory, Jemimah Rodrigues struck a four off Wareham to seal victory.

Brief scores:

Australia Women 141 all out in 19.2 overs (Ellyse Perry 37, Phoebe Litchfield 49; Titas Sadhu 4-17, Shreyanka Patil 2-19, Deepti Sharma 2-24) lost to India Women 145/1 in 17.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 54, Shafali Verma 64 not out; Georgia Wareham 1-20) by nine wickets.

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