Vadodara: A 76-run partnership for the eighth wicket saved India the blushes before being bowled out for 200 against Australia in the first One-day International of the ICC Women’s Championship here today. Electing to bat after winning the toss, India lost wickets at regular intervals before the duo of Pooja Vastrakar (51) and Sushma Verma (41) steadied the ship with sensible batting.
This was the 18-year-old Vastrakar’s maiden half century, and she laced her crucial knock with seven boundaries and a six, while Verma found the fence three times during her 71-ball innings. The total looked a far cry when Shikha Pandey was dismissed in the 32nd over with the score reading 113 for seven. That was the time when Verma and Vastrakar joined hands to bail India out of a precarious situation.
The hosts were off to a steady start with openers, Punam Raut (37) and Smriti Mandhana (12), putting on 38 runs in nine overs. However, Mandhana was trapped in front of the wicket by Amanda-Jade Wellington in the first ball of the 10th over, giving the leg-spinner the first of her three wickets. The most successful Australian bowler, though, was Jess Jonassen, who returned impressive figures of 4/30.
Jemimah Rodrigues and Raut were also dismissed in quick succession as India were left struggling at 60 for three, which became 83 for four in the 23rd over. While facing 50 deliveries, Raut struck six boundaries and a six. With skipper Harmanpreet Singh falling to Alyssa Healy’s work behind the stumps off Megan Schutt’s bowling an over later, hosts India slumped to 87 for five.
The Australians were disciplined with the ball with the spinners taking eight wickets. Had they held on to their chances, Meg Lanning’s side could have restricted the hosts to a much lower score.