Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav bowled a magical spell in her comeback game to steer India to a comfortable 17-run win over defending champions Australia in the opening match of the Women's T20 World Cup on Friday.
Put in to bat, India struggled to a below par 132 before Poonam (4/19 in 4 overs) foxed the Aussies with her googlies, turning the match decisively into her team's favour. After the match, Yadav was awarded player-of-the-match for her spellbinding performance.
Speaking to ANI after India's win, Poonam Yadav's mother, Munni Devi, said, "I am very happy and proud on India's victory today. The girls started off with a little bit of difficulty but managed the game well till the end."
Chasing 133, Australian openers Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy provided a steady start as the duo put on 32 runs for the first wicket. India finally got the breakthrough in the sixth over as Shikha Pandey dismissed Mooney (6).
Skipper Meg Lanning joined Healy in the middle to put on a brief partnership of 23 runs, but as soon as Australia started to gain an upper hand, Lanning (5) was sent back to the pavilion by Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Healy, however, continued to march on and brought up her half-century in the 10th over.
Immediately after reaching the half-century mark, Healy (51) was dismissed by Poonam Yadav, restricting Australia to 67/3. Indian spinners managed to spin a cob-web around the Australian batters and this led to the dismissals of Rachel Haynes (6) and Ellyse Perry (0) with Australia still 57 runs away from the win.
Ashleigh Gardner tried her best as she kept the scoreboard moving at one end, but Indian bowlers kept on taking wickets at the other end. In the end, India managed to emerge triumphant by 17 runs.
Earlier, Deepti Sharma's unbeaten knock of 49 runs enabled India to post 132/4 in the allotted twenty overs.
(With Agency Inputs)