The Southern Stars from Australia reasserted their supremacy with a comprehensive 60-run victory against Indian women as they sealed the three-match series by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead on Thursday. After cruising to an eight-wicket victory in the opening game, India were outplayed in all departments as Australia scored a healthy 287 for 9 and then bowled out Mithali Raj's brigade for 227 in 49.2 overs.
Indian team never appeared to be competitive with batters letting the team down on both occasions.
A target of 288 in women's cricket is a tall order but pint-sized opener Punam Raut's lack of power hurt the Indian team badly as she undid all the hard work done by her opening partner Smriti Mandhana (67 off 53 balls).
While Mandhana hit 12 boundaries and a straight six, Raut was not even able to rotate the strike. Her 27 off 61 balls was a major factor in India losing the match. Her ultra defensive batting put so much pressure on Mandhana, that her attempted slog-sweep off left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen (3/51 in 10 overs) landed into deep fine leg's hands.
Skipper Mithali Raj (15) hit three boundaries but a mistimed pull-shot off Ellyse Perry (2/41) landed in Alyssa Healy's gloves.
Her decision to keep Deepti Sharma (26 off 45 balls) at No 3 also backfired. Left-hander Deepti, like opener Punam, doesn't have the power to hit big shots like a Harmanpreet Kaur or a Veda Krishnamurthy. Deepti also wasted many deliveries during the middle overs.
When Harmanpreet (17 off 26 balls) finally came in at No 5, it was already a big ask with 165 required in just over 25 overs. Harmanpreet and Veda (2) were out within a space of four runs and India's challenge virtually ended in a whimper.
Harmanpreet and Veda departed in quick succession and it was left to Pooja Vastrakar (30, 33 balls) to use the long handle to good effect as India managed to cross the 200-run mark.
Earlier, opener Nicole Bolton struck 84 off 88 balls to bag her second 'Player of the Match' award. India had reduced Australia to 144 for four in the 31st over before Perry, who hit a run-a-ball 70 and Beth Mooney (56 off 40 balls) added 96 runs in 14 overs.
While Perry hit six fours and two sixes, Mooney had nine boundaries to her credit. Shikha Pandey (3/61 in 10 overs) was the most successful bowler but she got a rough treatment from the Australian batters.
Brief Scores: Australia 287/9 in 50 overs (Nicole Bolton 84 off 88 balls, Ellyse Perry 70 off 70 balls, Beth Mooney 56 off 40 balls)
India 227 in 49.2 overs (Smriti Mandhana 67 off 53 balls, Deepti Sharma 26 off 45 balls, Punam Raut 27 off 61 balls, Jess Jonassen 3/51, Ellyse Perry 2/41). Australia Women win by 60 runs.
Australia lead three-match series 2-0.
(With PTI Inputs)