Australia Women 172 for 8 (Perry 75, Harris 41, Vaidya 2-22) beat India Women 151 for 7 (Shafali 52, Harmanpreet 37, Brown 2-19, Gardner 2-21) by 21 runs
Deepti Sharma’s late hits gave India a sliver of hope, but Nicola Carey and Megan Schutt coolly closed out the game for Australia.
After India opted to bowl at the Brabourne Stadium, both Renuka Singh Thakur and Anjali found swing with the new ball. Renuka made the first incision when she thumped Alyssa Healy’s front pad in the first over and when Anjali stormed through the defences of the newly minted No.1 T20I batter Tahlia McGrath, Australia were 5 for 2 in the second over.
Beth Mooney (30) flickered briefly, but it was Perry who fired properly. Before Wednesday, Perry had not batted in a T20I for Australia since last October, having missed out on selection for the shortest format during last summer’s Ashes and Commonwealth games. However, Meg Lanning’s personal break and the retirement of Rachael Hayes paved the way for a T20I return. Perry’s batting was not needed in the first two T20Is, but when Australia really needed it in the third, she produced a 33-ball half-century.
Perry took regular trips down the pitch to manufacture scoring opportunities against India’s spinners. She was particularly severe on Deepti and Radha Yadav, cracking 32 off a combined 16 balls. Perry dovetailed beautifully with Harris in a 55-run fifth-wicket partnership that came off a mere 31 balls.
Harris’ knock could’ve been cut short at 10 had Shafali not let a swipe burst through her hands and over the long-on boundary in the 15th over. Harris proceeded to pepper the midwicket and long-on boundaries before she holed out in the 19th over. Perry’s wicket had also added to Australia’s late slide, which brought India back into the contest.
Three days after India’s batters overpowered Australia in a Super-Over thriller, they stretched back to the stragglers again. India lost both Smriti Mandhana (1 off 10) and Jemimah Rodrigues (16 off 11) in the powerplay, and Shafali faced all of 11 balls for 14 runs during this phase.
Shafali, though, broke free with a slog-swept six off legspinner Alana King in the seventh over and moved to a chancy half-century. She struck up a busy 73-run third-wicket stand with Harmanpreet Kaur, but her dismissal triggered an irreparable collapse. India lost 5 for 40 as Brown and Gardner re-established Australia’s command. Perry also pitched in with an over, which cost only two runs, helping Australia seal the win she had set up.