India's unbeaten run at the Women's U-19 T20 World Cup came to an end with a seven-wicket thrashing by Australia in the Super Six stage at Potchefstroom. Invited to bat, the India batters, who have looked formidable so far in the tournament, were blown away as Australia skittled them for a paltry 87 in 18.5 overs.
India had managed to defend 97 against Australia in a warm-up game earlier this month but the Shafali Verma-led side couldn't repeat the feat as its opponents raced to the finish line with 37 balls to spare. The loss has dented India's net run rate (+1.905), which could play a vital role in deciding who qualifies for the semi-finals.
The Women in Blue have dropped to second place behind Australia in the Super Six Group 1. Australia, India, South Africa and Bangladesh all have four points while Sri Lanka and UAE are on zero points. It was a day when India's strong batting line-up looked clueless. After conceding a couple of boundaries, Milly Illingworth (2/12) got the prized wicket of the Indian skipper as Shafali (8), once again, fell early.
The Australian quick then struck in her next over, as Gongadi Trisha (4) edged the ball and wicketkeeper Paris Hall did the rest. The Australian bowlers were all over India with Sonia Mendhiya (2) crumbling under pressure.
With wickets falling like nine pins at the other end, Shweta Sehrawat (21) tried to relieve the pressure by collecting a boundary an over with the dangerous Richa Ghosh (7) also joining her with a four, but the keeper-batter was sent back to the hut two balls later, leaving India at 43/4. Sehrawat was dismissed for the first time in the tournament by Sianna Ginger, who went on to claim Parshavi Chopra (8) and Mannat Kashyap's (1) wicket in her next two overs, finishing with figures of 3 for 13.
With the top-order falling early, the onus was on the middle-order batters to get some runs on the board in the crucial clash, but they too wilted under pressure as only three Indians managed to reach double digit scores. In reply, the Australians came out all guns blazing and the Indian bowlers had no answer. They leaked runs before Titas Sadhu (1/13), Archana Devi (1/7) and Sonam Yadav (1/22) took a wicket each.