Cricket, they say is a beautiful sport and yet it can be unforgivably cruel and what more painful way to say this being an Indian fan than to cite yesterday’s game between India and Australia as Newlands stayed witness to India going down after what felt like a chase that knew no ends until that final ball was bowled.
Two of Australia’s openers had a blinding start as Alyssa Healy was slow to get off the block while India had an early shy at claiming the crucial scalp of Beth Mooney when she was batting at 32 and yet Shafali Verma let it spill, complicating things for India.
Much to India’s reprieve however, Alyssa Healy was on her way back after a reticent start as Radha Yadav got the better of the Aussie opener. Meg Lanning the Australian captain almost gave her wicket way too early in the innings but Richa Ghosh couldn’t really get to close her gloves as the cherry kissed grass with the Aussie skipper teetering at 2.
However, once the Aussie duo of Lanning and Mooney were granted the lifelines, it was easy pickings for two of the world’s finest cricketers, cooking up the heat while the Indian bowlers desperately scrambled for a fire blanket as it rained boundaries at the Newlands.
Despite the fall of Mooney, things didn’t really iron themselves out for the Indians as Ashleigh Gardner kept a calm head and looked in firm control as the stakes got higher and India seemed to be on a retreat.
A late charge back from India allowed them to keep things tight until that final over where Ashleigh Gardner chose to bring out the canons and peppered the cherry to every single nook and cranny of the park.
India’s soaring aspirations took a shuddering hit when they lost the cream of their batter for a paltry 28 with Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma and Yastika Bhatia all seemingly in a cursory to race back to the pavilion. It needed a knock of iron resilience from Jemimah Rodriguez and the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur to help India stay in the hunt and after weathering that early vortex of entropy, the two did a commendable job of spicing up the chase with a flurry of exquisite strokes.