Australia have secured the T20 series against India with a match to spare following a tense seven-run victory in Mumbai, built around another scintillating innings from Ellyse Perry.
The veteran continued her successful comeback to the short-form side at Brabourne Stadium with a 42-ball unbeaten 72 with seven fours and four sixes. It was quicker than the 47-ball 75 she made in Wednesday’s third match, which was her first T20I knock for 14 months.
A third-wicket partnership of 94 in 59 balls with Ash Gardner was followed by 48 off the last 20 deliveries in tandem with Grace Harris, whose brutal cameo produced 27 runs.
A total of 188 proved just enough to survive a late onslaught from the home team with Gardner taking two for 20 in four overs as India fell just short on 181 for five. It means Australia lead the five-match series 3-1.
The only sour note for the tourists was the forced retirement of their captain, Alyssa Healy, who strained a calf muscle hitting a boundary. She lasted one more ball before retiring on 30 and did not keep wicket when Australia fielded.
Australia had begun aggressively with Healy taking a contrasting quartet of fours off the opening two overs, a slash past gully, a cover drive, a leg glance, and a snick between the ’keeper’s legs.
After that bold start, the rate slowed as Beth Mooney miscued a drive to be dismissed for two, then Healy retired hurt, followed by Tahlia McGrath, bowled for nine.
That left Australia 2-46 off 41 balls and needing to step it up. Enter Perry who skipped down the pitch to launch Radha Yadav for six first ball. With Gardner the perfect partner the pair rattled along at nine-an-over before Gardner holed out at long-on seeking her fourth six.
It did not make life easier for India however as Grace Harris smacked 13 off her first four balls. With five balls left Deepti Sharma, who was bowling, should have run out Perry. Instead she allowed an extra run, putting Perry back on strike. The next two balls went for six.
“It’s been nice to be able to play the way I have in the last couple of games but even nicer to just be involved with this team,” said Perry. “I’m really enjoying the opportunity batting with this group. Grace was absolutely amazing tonight, so was Ash.”
India had little choice but to go for it from the start and they did with Smriti Mandhana hitting the first, third and fifth balls of the opening over, bowled by Darcie Brown, for four.
Mandhana was caught behind by stand-in ’keeper Mooney off Gardner in the third over. Two overs later Shafali Verma followed for 20 just as she was getting into the groove.
That brought Harmanpreet Kaur to the cease and, with the rate climbing to 12-an over, she was forced to cut loose, hitting five fours in seven balls off Megan Schutt and Heather Graham. Alana King brought Harmanpreet’s counterattack to an end when she induced a top-edged sweep to Brown to depart for a 30-ball 46.
That looked to be it but, after Devika Vaidya followed for a 26-ball 32, Richa Ghosh kept the chase going. With 12 balls left India needed 38. Ghosh went six, six, four before Graham closed the over out with two singles.
That left 20 needed off the final over but Shutt kept them to 12, Ghosh finishing unbeaten on 40 from 19 balls.