Litchfield shines
Phoebe Litchfield has shone again as her knock of 49 kept Australian hopes afloat against India. Image by AP PHOTO
  • cricket

India hail new women’s star Sadhu in win over Australia

Steve Barrett January 6, 2024

India have crushed Australia by nine wickets in the first women’s Twenty20 international in Navi Mumbai, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series while discovering a new star.

Teenage debutant Titas Sadhu’s sensational 4-17 led Australia’s demise to 141 all-out before Shafali Verma (64no) and Smriti Mandhana (54) piloted a clinical chase at the DY Patil Stadium on Friday (Saturday AEDT).

After being whitewashed 3-0 in the one-day series, India couldn’t have been more emphatic in blasting past Australia with 14 balls remaining.

Sadhu stars
 Teenage newcomer Titas Sadhu was brilliant for India in their T20I win over Australia. Image by AP PHOTO 

“We didn’t play very well at all tonight,” Australia captain Alyssa Healy said.

“We left a lot out there with the bat and probably didn’t start too well with the ball either.

“Lots to work on for the next two games.”

Verma was reprieved twice, both return catches to Ash Gardner – a sitter on 51 and a difficult one on 61 – but otherwise she and Mandhana were imperious in putting on 137 for the first wicket, the highest by any team against Australia and the second best by any Indian pair.

Verma was aggressive and convincing from the outset while Mandhana took 12 balls to get off the mark before flourishing.

India were given a massive head start in their reply when an off-target Darcie Brown conceded 14 runs – all extras – in the opening over.

Australia continued to look off-colour when Tahlia McGrath later conceded 24 off her second over, which included seven wides.

Australia’s only moment of joy in the field came when Mandhana, with five runs needed for victory, tried to finish it with a six only for her slog-sweep off legspinner Georgia Wareham to be sensationally plucked high and one-handed by McGrath on the long-on rope.

Earlier, rising star Phoebe Litchfield (49) and established legend Ellyse Perry (37) resurrected Australia’s innings from early peril after 19-year-old sensation Sadhu had left the top-order in tatters.

Sadhu took three huge wickets – Beth Mooney (17), McGrath (0) and Gardner (0) – to have 3-3 in her first two overs as Australia lost 4-5 in 14 deliveries to crash to 4-33 at the end of the powerplay.

In-form Litchfield, named player of the recently-completed 50-over series after scoring 260 runs at 86.67, led Australia’s recovery but her departure in the 15th over sparked another 6-29 collapse.

Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur took her women’s T20I record-equalling fourth catch to dismiss Annabel Sutherland (12) for Sadhu’s fourth wicket.

Sadhu briefly celebrated a fifth scalp when Wareham was adjudged lbw first ball but the decision was overturned on review.

Spinners Shreyanka Patil (2-19) and Deepti Sharma (2-24) mopped up the tail.