Megan Schutt’s hat-trick ends India’s campaign in women’s T20 tri-series
A day after the Australian men team, in doldrums following a ball tampering scandal, suffered a 322-run defeat against the Proteas in the third Test at Cape Town, Australian women gave their fans something to cheer about as they pummeled India by 36 runs to make it to the final of women’s T-20 tri-series at the Brabourne Stadium here on Monday.
Australia will face England in the title clash on Saturday. India, on the other hand, crashed out of the tournament, suffering their third consecutive loss in the tri-nation event.
Both England and Australia now have two wins and even if India win their last match against the former, that won’t affect the final standings.
Medium pacer Megan Schutt was the star performer for Australia, claiming a hat-trick. Schutt castled Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj off the last two balls of the first over before returning to dismiss Deepti Sharma off the first ball of her second to achieve the feat.
With that, the 25-year-old became the first Australian bowler to claim a hat-trick in women’s T20s. Overall, it was the seventh instance of a player getting a hat-trick in women’s T20s.
Schutt’s burst left India tottering at 26 for 3 chasing a mammoth target of 187. The hosts never managed to recover from it. Though local girl Jemimah Rodrigues slammed her maiden fifty (50, 41b, 8x4) in T20s and captain Harmanpreet Kaur hit a 30-ball 33, India never looked like getting anywhere close to the target.Towards the end, Anuja Patil also fired a 26-ball 38 but it only helped her team in narrowing the margin of defeat.
Earlier, half centuries from Elyse Villani (61, 42b, 10x4) and Beth Mooney (71, 46b, 8x4) took Australia to a commanding 186/5. Young seamer Pooja Vastrakar gave India a great start by removing Alyssa Healy and Ash Gardner in her first two overs. Villani and Mooney then steadied the Australian ship before going hammer and tongs.
Both batted with similar rhythm and, in fact, at one point, their individual scores read an identical 38 off 27 balls. The duo went on to put 114 runs in 11.4 overs before Villani was caught brilliantly by Rodrigues at the deep off Poonam Yadav.
Mooney continued her assault for another three overs before holing out to Rodrigues off Jhulan Goswami in the penultimate over. Rachael Haynes hit a quickfire 4-ball 10 to ensure Australia went past 180 mark
Brief scores: Australia 186/5 in 20 overs (B Mooney 71, E Villani 61, P Vastrakar 2/28) beat India 150/5 in 20 overs (J Rodrigues 50, A Patil 38*, M Schutt 3/31) by 36 runs.