Poonam Yadav took three wickets in a sensational spell as Australia were left tottering against India in the opening game of the ICC Women's World T20. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The year 2020 is the year of Twenty20 Internationals. The first major tournament of the year will start on Friday and it is the ICC Women's T20 World Cup. The first match will see a resurgent India women's cricket team, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, take on the might of Australia, the four-time World T20 champions. This tournament is set to break all kinds of records, right from gender representation to massive crowds predicted for the final which will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 8. India and Australia will be playing in the Women's World T20 for the fourth time, with Australia having won two matches. However, India won their last encounter in the 2018 World T20 clash in Providence, Guyana and they will be determined to repeat that performance again.
Australia 115 all out, Poonam yadav picks up four wickets, Shikha Pandey scalps third
Schutt run out and that the end of Australian innings
Ashley Gardner Departs At 34, Shikha Pandey strikes again
Shikha Pandey picks her second wicket in Sutherland, Australia is 102/7 after 17 overs
WICKET! Another brilliant ball from Poonam Yadav. Flighted delivery and bowled with plenty of air and loop, Jess Jonassen swings across the line but gets a faint edge that is taken by Taniya Bhatia. After 13.5 overs, Australia are 82/6 and in serious trouble.
Arundhati Reddy bowls a good over but Poonam Yadav will be ruing the dropped catch by Taniya Bhatia which gave Jess Jonassen a life. After 13 overs, Australia are 81/5.
Poonam Yadav is on a hat-trick. What a spell from her. Rachel Haynes is out and Alyssa Healy misses her fifty. Ellyse Perry is dismissed first ball with the googly and Australia are 76/5 in 11.4 overs.
WICKET! Rajeshwari Gayakwad continues to keep India in the hunt. Meg Lanning goes for the drive but the ball spins away and Taniya Bhatia takes the catch. In the ninth over, Australia are 56/2.
Alyssa Healy is taking the attack to the bowlers. Poor over this from Arundhati Reddy as she is hammered for three fours in the over. All the pressure built during the powerplay has been extinguished. After eight overs, Australia are 52/1.
Another good over from Rajeshwari Gayakwad. This is not going to be an easy chase for Australia. They need to rotate the strike well. After seven overs, Australia are 37/1.
WICKET! Big blow for Australia as Beth Mooney cracks a short and wide ball outside off but he finds the fielder at backward point. After the sixth over, India are 32/1
Alyssa Healy is looking in great form as she thumps Shikha Pandey straight down the ground for a boundary. Australia are making good progress and after four overs, the four-time champions are 25/0.
India have lost the review as Harmanpreet Kaur takes a horrible review. The ball was clearly pitching outside the leg stump. After three overs, India are 19/0.
Alyssa Healy gets going with two fours off Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Australia are 17/0 after two overs.
Alyssa Healy cracks a short ball from Deepti Sharma to the deep extra cover fence and Smriti Mandhana puts a good effort to save the boundary but she injures herself in the process. Australia are 5/0 after the first over.
Deepti Sharma and Veda Krishnamurthy fail to end with a flourish and India end on 132/4 after 20 overs. This could be a tricky chase for Australia as India's spinners can be a handful on this wicket.
Another superb over from Jess Jonassen. She ends with 2/25 and India are 125/4 after 19 overs. They need to take at least 15 runs off Kimmince in the last over.
Good over from Megan Schutt. Deepti Sharma, though, holds the key. After 18 overs, India are 121/4.
Deepti Sharma has pressed on the accelerator as she sweeps two fours off Jess Jonassen. More such hits are needed as she nears a fifty. After 17 overs, India are 115/4.
Can Deepti Sharma and Veda Krishnamurthy get India to over 140? Australia are bowling well
The partnership between Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues has crossed 50 and India have also crossed 100. By virtue of singles, the duo have stitched a solid stand. However, Delissa Kimmince breaks the stand as Jemimah Rodrigues misses a full ball that nips back in and is trapped in front. Jemimah Rodrigues out for 26. India are 100/4 after 16 overs.
Still no boundaries hit in the last couple of overs. After 15 overs, India are 95/3. A total of 140 will be challenging. The partnership is also nearing fifty.
Alyssa Healy misses a stumping chance off Megan Schutt but India are failing to press on the accelerator. India are 89/3 in 14 overs.
Another tight over from Ashleigh Gardner. After 13 overs, India are 82/3. Can they reach 150? They need the power-hitting now.
Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues are making steady progress as they stitch a solid stand. After 12 overs, India are 77/3.
The scoring rate has dipped alarmingly after the dismissals of Verma, Mandhana and Harmanpreet. The Australian bowlers are pulling things back with Delissa Kimmince, Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry bowling well. After 10 overs, India are 63/3.
WICKET! That is really unlucky for India and Harmanpreet Kaur. She dances down the track and looks to maul Jonassen down the ground but she misses. Alyssa Healy the wicketkeeper fails to collect the ball but it bounces off her pads and back onto the stumps as the Indian skipper is stumped. India are 47/3 in the seventh over.
Ellyse Perry is into the attack and she traps Rodrigues in front with a delivery that cuts back in. The umpire gives it out but replays show that the ball was missing the leg stump. The decision is successfully overturned. However, Australia deal a body blow as Verma mistimes the pull shot and is caught at mid on by Megan Schutt. India 43/2 in the sixth over.
WICKET! Jess Jonassen breaks the dangerous opening stand. She floats a flighted delivery that drifts in, Mandhana goes for the sweep and misses it. She is adjudged LBW for 10. India are 41/1 in the fifth over.
Both Mandhana and Verma are taking the attack to the Australian bowlers. Verma lofts a four to long off and then cracks a short ball from Megan Schutt to the deep backward point fence. The runs keep coming as Verma laces the cover drive to the boundary. Schutt ends the over poorly as she fires a full ball down the leg side and Verma helps it to the fine leg fence. 16 runs in the first over bowled by Schutt and India are 40/0 after four overs.
India's batters are fearlessly hitting lofted shots in the gap. Shafali Verma hits a four and a six off Molly Strano, the six in particular, was inside out over long off. After three overs, India are 24/0.
DROPPED! That could be costly for Australia. Mandhana pulls a short ball from Ellyse Perry to the midwicket region but Molly Strano, diving to her left, fails to latch on to the catch. Mandhana responds by hammering Perry over wide long on for a one bounce four and then hits another four to long off. After two overs, India are 11/0.
Molly Strano opens the bowling for Australia and she is getting some good drift. The pitch is dead and stroke-making could be difficult. After the first over, India are 2/0.
Here are the playing XIs of both teams
India Women (Playing XI): Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur(c), Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Taniya Bhatia(w), Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Australia Women (Playing XI): Alyssa Healy(w), Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning(c), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Annabel Sutherland, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Molly Strano, Megan Schutt
Australia have chosen to bowl against India at Sydney. Molly Strano included in the team in place of Tayla Vlaeminck. India are playing three spinners in the side.
Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues form a solid top order core for India. But, Australia have class and pedigree be it the likes of Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Beth Mooney, Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt.
The group involving Australia and India is a very tough one. A loss for any team will make their path to the next round difficult. New Zealand are the other team in the group and they will be determined to ensure they spoil the party for the others.
A warm welcome to the ICC Women's World T20. This year is dedicated to the shortest format of the game and it begins with the ICC Women's World T20 in Australia. This edition of the tournament is bigger and better than before. The opening match is an absolute classic. India, under Harmanpreet Kaur, take on Australia at the Sydney Showground stadium. This will be a great contest.