Smriti Mandhana
Smriti Mandhana (Credit: ICC)

Smriti Mandhana hit a career-best 83 to help India post a challenging 167/8 in their final Group B match of the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 against Australia in Guyana on Saturday. Mandhana struck nine fours and three sixes for her first half-century of the tournament.

Ellyse Perry, playing in her 100th T20I, was the pick of the Australian bowlers finishing with 3/16 from three overs. Ashleigh Gardner and Delissa Kimmince chipped in with two wickets each.

It was Mandhana who dominated the India batting after their captain Harmanpreet Kaur opted to bat first at the Guyana Stadium.

Garnder struck early as she removed opener Taniya Bhatia in the second over.

A partnership was brewing between Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues before the latter sliced one to short third man to be caught for 6. That brought in-form Harmanpreet to the middle and she began belting boundaries at will.

Mandhana and Harmanpreet added 68 runs for the third wicket to steer Indian innings forward. Kimmince broke the stand when Harmanpreet was caught after a quickfire 27-ball 43 that featured three fours and as many sixes in it.

Mandhana continued even as India kept losing at the other end. With a six, she became the second fastest Indian after Mithali Raj, who was rested for the match, to complete 1000 runs in T20Is. India looked set to post score in the vicinity of 180 but Australian bowlers did a terrific job to keep them quiet in the death overs.

Megan Schutt removed Mandhana off the first delivery of the penultimate over to end her innings. However, there was some bad news for Australia as a nasty collision with Schutt saw wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy leaving the field. Beth Mooney replaced her behind the stumps. Perry then took two wickets in the final over with India managing just 13 runs off the final two overs.

India rested Mithali and Mansi Joshi and brought in Anuja Patil and Arundhati Reddy into the playing XI. Australia gave debut to Tayla Vlaeminck who bowled two overs for nine runs but the highlight was her stunning one-handed catch at backward square leg to get rid of Veda Krishnamurthy.

Brief Scores: India 167/8 (Smriti Mandhana 83, Harmanpreet Kaur 43) vs Australia