Australia Women skipper Alyssa Healy saved her best for the last to hand India a crushing seven-wicket defeat in the third and final T20I as the visitors bagged the series 2-1 in Mumbai Tuesday.
Healy opted to field after calling it correct, and the bowlers responded to her decision to keep India to a modest 147 for six.
The stylish batter then returned to crack a 55 off 38 balls laced with nine fours and a six to lead Australia’s march to a series win, and as for India this was their fourth consecutive T20I series loss at home since September 2019.
India have succumbed to South Africa, Australia and England in this interim.
Chasing 148, Australia raced to 85 for one at halfway mark courtesy Healy’s onslaught and Beth Mooney’s 52 not out (45 balls, 5x4s).
A nearly-packed house at the DY Patil Stadium was left disappointed when Indian players failed to bring forth a collective performance — like they did in the first game.
Pooja Vastrakar dismissed Tahlia McGrath (20) and Ellyse Perry on consecutive balls in the 16th over to create some excitement, but Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield (17 not out) took Australia over the line.
But it all started with Healy, as she attacked Titas Sadhu, smacking the pacer for three fours in the fourth over to set the tone for the chase.
Healy continued her assault smacking Renuka Singh Thakur for a second 15-run over on the trot, which included a six and two fours. In the seventh over, Healy also had luck favouring her when a full-bloodied cut off Vastrakar was claimed as a catch taken by Jemimah Rodrigues at point.
But replays suggested the ball hit the ground just before setting into the fielder’s hands.
With only a couple of angles available, the TV replays also could not clearly define the moment since the ball had travelled fast to Rodrigues.
Owing to lack of conclusive evidence, third umpire N Janani ruled it in favour of Healy, who was eventually trapped leg-before by Deepti Sharma.
Earlier, Richa Ghosh’s brisk 34 saved India Women the blushes who posted 147 for six.
India squandered a rollicking start to lose four wickets for six runs and were tottering at the halfway stage after Shafali Verma (26) and Smriti Mandhana (29) set the stage for a strong first-innings total.
India were 51/1 after the powerplay but slipped to 66/4 after 10 overs losing wickets in a cluster. But Ghosh’s knock gave India a fresh lease of life as India added 81 runs in the second half.
Ghosh smacked three sixes and two fours in her quickfire 28-ball innings before departing in the final over when Ashleigh Gardner cleaned her up.
Additionally, vital contributions from Deepti (14), Amanjot Kaur (17, 14 balls, 2×4) and Vastrakar’s six off the innings’ last ball gave India a total to fight with.
Shafali smashed three fours off Kim Garth in the fourth over to mark a strong start for India, adding 39 for the first wicket.
But Australia came roaring back to strike thrice with Annabel Sutherland (2/12) bouncing out Rodrigues, who was caught at deep square leg.
Gardner took a superb low forward diving catch when Mandhana hit one towards deep midwicket off Georgia Wareham (2/24).
With the responsibility of shepherding a faltering innings falling on Harmanpreet Kaur’s shoulders, the skipper disappointed yet again with the bat.
Sutherland bowled a slower one but Harmanpreet was way too early into her drive, getting an inside edge which crashed onto the stumps and left India gasping for breath from 60 for one to 66 for four.
Harmanpreet, who was dismissed for three, registered her sixth single-digit score in as many outings.
Ghosh and Deepti then teamed up to lift India out of trouble with a 33-run stand for the fifth wicket.