India lost the first match of the three-match ODI series of the ICC Women’s Championship to Australia Women by eight wickets in Vadodara. Although the 76-run stand between Sushma Verma (41) and Pooja Vastrakar (51) lifted India to 200 after being reduced to 113 for seven; Nicole Bolton’s century took Australia to the finish line with ease.
After electing to bat, India were tested by the visitors with Amanda Jade Wellington (3/39) and Jess Jonassen (4/30) picking wickets at crucial junctures. After the departure of Smriti Mandhana with the hosts on 38, India suffered a batting collapse. While young Jemimah Rodrigues was caught behind on the one side by Jade Wellington, the bowler accounted for Punam Raut with the team on 60 for three.
The rest of the middle-order then caved in. A superb diving catch by Nicola Carey at square-leg sent back Deepti Sharma while Megan Schutt drew an edge from Harmanpreet Kaur to leave India on 87 for five. Veda Krishnamurthy, who had bided her time, got out hitting Wellington towards covers and Shikha Pandey followed her back in the next over.
Vastrakar then joined Verma in the middle and the pair stitched a 76-run stand to revive the Indian innings. While the wicketkeeper held one end up and looked to rotate the strike, Vastrakar took the attack to the Australians. The partnership ended with Verma holing out to deep mid-wicket with the team on 189 for eight. The No 9 bat then helped add 10 more runs to the tally. After reaching her maiden fifty, Vastrakar was caught at long-off where Rachel Haynes took the catch. Poonam Yadav then added a run to the total before being run out off the last ball of the innings.
Chasing 201, Bolton and Alyssa Healy got the Australians to a flying start. The partnership was ended by Pandey for 60, who claimed the wicketkeeper-bat as her 50th ODI scalp. However, the Australians continued to attack the Indian bowlers with Bolton leading the way. After a direct hit by Krishnamurthy ran out Meg Lanning at the non-striker’s end, Ellyse Perry joined the opener in the middle. Coming together 128 for two, the duo helped Australia to the finish line with 107 balls to spare.
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Player of the Match: Nicole Bolton