‘Full house,’ said the boards on the gates to the disappointed fans outside the D.Y. Patil Stadium on Sunday, December 11, 2022 evening.
That full house — it could well be the biggest crowd the Indian women’s cricket team may have played before at home — was treated to an exhibition of high quality batting in both innings and an incredible finish, too. And the excited, noisy fans — around 50,000 of them — got more than what they would have imagined: a Super Over as India made 187 for five in reply to Australia’s 187 for one. Much to the fans’ delight, India won the Super Over and also ended Australia’s unbeaten run this year.
Before the Super Over, 14 were needed in the final over bowled by Megan Schutt. Richa Ghosh (26 not out, 13b, 3x6) played a blistering knock to bring the Indian chase back on track after the dismissal of opener Smriti Mandhana (79, 49b, 9x4, 4x6). A boundary through backward point by Devika Vaidya pushed the contest to a shootout.
The sublime Smriti looked to be on course to take India home until she tried to guide Annabel Sutherland to fine-leg and played on. She added 76 for the first wicket with Shafali Verma (34, 23b, 4x4, 1x6) and 61 with captain Harmanpreet Kaur (21, 22b, 2x4, 1x6).
Smriti and Richa were back in the middle for the Super Over as the Women in Blue scored 20 for one off Heather Graham. Renuka Singh gave away only 16 to give India an unforgettable victory.
Earlier, it was once again Beth Mooney (82 not out, 54b, 13x4) and Tahlia McGrath (70 not out, 51b, 10x4, 1x6) who frustrated the Indian bowlers. The duo had added 100 in the opening game and piled up 158 for the unbroken second wicket, a new record for Australia for any wicket. That record did not matter much on this night.
Australia 187/1 in 20 overs (Alyssa Healy 25, Beth Mooney 82 n.o., Tahlia McGrath 70 n.o.) tied with India 187/5 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 79, Shafali Verma 34, Richa Ghosh 26 n.o., Heather Graham 3/22).
Super Over: India 20/1 bt Australia 16/1.