Australia Women clinch multi-format series win over India with game to spare after nervy win in second T20
Australia Women beat India Women by four wickets in the second IT20 at Carrara to secure the series win; Tahlia McGrath hits 42no to take hosts to victory target of 119 in the final over; Australia take unassailable 9-5 lead in multi-format series
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 09/10/21 2:19pm
Tahlia McGrath scored an unbeaten 42 to take Australia to a four-wicket win over India in the second IT20 to take an unassailable 9-5 lead in the multi-format series.
Having been set 119 to win, Australia stuttered in the first half of their chase and found themselves 46-4 in the 10th over and even at 94-6 in the 17th over, the game was in the balance but McGrath held her nerve to get the home side over the line with five balls to spare.
India had Pooja Vastrakar to thank for making the game as competitive as it was. The 22-year-old bowler scored 37 not out from 26 balls and dominated a last-wicket stand of 37 to take the tourists from 81-9 after 17 overs to 118-9 at the end of the innings.
Ultimately, it proved in vain as, despite that early wobble, Australia got home in the chase to clinch the series ahead of Sunday's third and final T20.
Having won the toss and chosen to bowl, Australia got just the start they were after by taking three wickets in the powerplay, Tayla Vlaeminck (2-18) removing openers Smriti Mandhana (1) and Shafali Verma (3) before left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux had Jemimah Rodrigues (7) caught at mid-on.
Harmanpreet Kaur (28 from 20) was keeping the scoreboard moving for India despite those early wickets but when she fell to Georgia Wareham (1-14) in the ninth over, the runs dried up and the wickets continued to tumble with two run-outs adding to the visitors' troubles.
India were in serious danger of posting a sub-100 total when Molineux (2-11) bowled Renuka Singh to end the 17th over but some strong hitting from Vastraka in the last three overs ensured that the bowlers had something to defend.
Australia recovered from losing Alyssa Healy (4) second ball, bowled by a beauty from Shikha Pandey that jagged back, and suffered no further losses in the powerplay.
However, three big wickets in the space of four overs brought India right back into the game with Meg Lanning (15), Ashleigh Gardner (1) and Ellyse Perry (2) gone.
McGrath joined Beth Mooney with 73 runs still needed to win and just as the pair seemed to have got Australia back in control, Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3-21) had Mooney (34 from 36) stumped and then dismissed Nicola Carey (7) in the same manner three overs later to keep India in the hunt.
McGrath, playing in only her second IT20, remained calm throughout though and with the help of Wareham (10no from 7) and some lacklustre India fielding, put the home side back in the ascendency.
Back-to-back McGrath boundaries at the start of the 19th over all-but sealed the deal for Australia and the right-hander was left to hit the winning run off Vastraka from the first ball of the 20th.