The hosts beat India 11-5 in the multi-format series, but the contest was a lot closer than that
Australia Women 149 for 5 (Mooney 61, McGrath 44*, Gayakwad 2-37) beat India Women 135 for 6 (Mandhana 52, Ghosh 23*, Rodrigues 23, Carey 2-42) by 14 runs
After a series of closely fought encounters across the ODIs, the lone Test and the first two T20Is, Australia finished off the multi-format series against India with a 14-run win in the third and final T20I. Australia scored 149 for 5, and though India showed spunk at some points of the chase, they ended up on 135 for 6.
The victory was set up by sparkling innings from Beth Mooney at the top of the order and No. 6 Tahlia McGrath, with both making substantial scores at a rapid pace. Mooney made 61 off 43, hitting ten fours and batting till the 18th over. The rest of the top order couldn’t contribute much as India’s bowlers took wickets around Mooney. Meg Lanning, who had an underwhelming series by her own high standards, was out hit-wicket to Rajeshwari Gayakwad, becoming the first Australian and seventh overall to be dismissed in that manner in women’s T20Is.
However, with Mooney at the crease and finding the boundary regularly, the scoring rate remained healthy. McGrath walked in at 73 for 4 in 11.1 overs, and the two put on 44 runs in 6.1 overs – the highest partnership of the innings – to ensure Australia were well on the way to a competitive total.
Mooney was out looking for another big hit, caught by a diving Harmanpreet Kaur to become Gayakwad’s second wicket. McGrath, who was on 25 off 23 at that point, finished with a blitz, taking 19 runs off her final eight balls as the last 2.4 overs brought 32 runs.
India’s top order stutters
The dismissal of the quick-hitting Shafali Verma in the second over to an innocuous delivery down leg from offspinner Ashleigh Gardner played a part in India managing only 28 in the powerplay, half of which came in Tayla Vlaeminck’s third over when Mandhana broke free to cart her for three fours. The slow start meant the required run rate remained over eight despite the fifty from Mandhana, who finished as the top run-scorer of the seven-match multi-format series with a tally of 352, 65 more than Mooney.
Slide seals it for Australia
Before Mandhana fell, India were 92 for 2 and though the required rate was steep, it looked like they could mount a final-overs charge. However, they slid to 102 for 6 in the space of 15 balls, and after that, it was merely a question of reducing the defeat margin.
Pat Cummins eager for clarity over Justin Langer’s contract
The coach is not certain to get a new deal despite T20 World Cup and Ashes success
The future of Langer, who comes off contract in mid-2022 and has made it clear he is keen to continue, remains an unresolved talking point.
The former Test opener changed his ways, adopting more of a low-key role as Australia went on to win the Twenty20 World Cup and retain the urn. But there remains speculation Cricket Australia will opt to move Langer on.
Cummins, asked about Langer after Australia claimed an unassailable 3-0 lead in their five-Test series against England, bluntly replied that “his contract is up for renewal in a few months and we’ll deal with that then”.
He struck a more diplomatic note in Hobart, speaking after his four-wicket haul helped Australia claim a first-innings lead of 115 runs in the fifth and final Ashes Test.
“That’s above my pay grade. We’ll wait and see, it’d be nice to have clarity for everyone,” Cummins said. “But he’s been doing a fantastic job, we absolutely love JL.
“He’s been really great through the World Cup and the Ashes. Honestly, it’s not been a talking point at all within the camp.
“The plan has always been to chat about it after the Ashes, so the powers that be, I’m sure, will chat at some stage. But he’s been fantastic for us and the boys love having him around.”
CA chief executive Nick Hockley and high-performance boss Ben Oliver are yet to set a definitive timeline around the call on Langer, likewise a final decision on potentially splitting the role by installing separate white-ball and red-ball mentors.
But the growing expectation is the elephant in the room will be addressed soon after the Ashes series finale. Oliver noted last month that CA will take player feedback on board before resolving Langer’s future.
“Position in doubt? Influenced the culture and character of the team after the Cape Town debacle,” Waugh posted on Instagram. “Coached the team to a winning World Cup 20/20 and now to a commanding Ashes victory. Time to put the rumours and innuendo to rest. #respect #culture #character.”
“I don’t know what everyone’s waiting for,” Warne told Fox Cricket. “He should be signed up in my opinion because he’s done such a good job.
“We’re not inside the dressing room, so we don’t know all the inside-outs, but I think the only way we can judge a coach is from the performances and has Australian cricket got better? Is the better of cricket better domestically? Is there a group of players? There’s probably three or four players outside this squad now that could all play and that wasn’t there a couple of years ago.”
Australia do not have much of a break in their schedule after the Ashes with limited-overs matches against New Zealand and Sri Lanka from late January to mid-February.
That is then followed by the tour of Pakistan, Australia’s first to the country since 1998, which also falls within Langer’s current contract. There will be the need to split coaches during that period with a brief T20I series in New Zealand during March, the same situation that was set to occur last season before the South Africa tour was postponed.
Recent Match Report – South Z (BD) vs Cent Z (BD) Final 2021/22
Bowlers, Al-Amin shine as Central beat South by six wickets after bowling them out for 163
Central Zone 164 for four (Al-Amin 53 not out, Mizanur 39, Ahmed 3 for 32) beat South Zone 163 all out (Pinak 35) by six wickets
Asked to bat first, South Zone were bowled out for 163 runs in 48.5 overs. They gave away a good start as they slipped to 99 for four after Anamul Haque and Pinak Ghosh added 51 for the opening stand. Nahidul Islam’s 31 took them past the 150-mark.
Captain Mosaddek was later adjudged the Player-of-the-Match and the Player-of-the-Series for scoring 148 runs and taking six wickets in the tournament. Imrul Kayes was the only batter to score more than 150 runs in the competition while Soumya was one of the four bowlers to take seven wickets.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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