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Series lost but India have plenty to gain from final T20

Having stretched mighty Australia in every game of the series, India will be looking to learn from their mistakes and seize the crucial moments in the fifth and final women’s T20.

India have pushed Australia to the limit but, barring the sensational super over win, have failed to land the killer blow, be it with the bat or ball. The champion outfit that Australia are, they have found a way to bounce back after being put under pressure by the Indians.

Australia’s top-order did the job in the first two games but India managed to get rid of them cheaply in the next couple of matches only for the Ellyse Perry-led middle order to take the game away from them. Ahead of the T20 World Cup in South Africa in February, the Australia series has served India well in their preparations for the ICC event.

The reigning champions have exposed the areas that India must improve on, whether it is the high dot ball ratio, their fielding or the lack of firepower in the bowling department.

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Shafali Verma, who will lead India in the inaugural U-19 World Cup next month, needs to complement her explosive game with strike rotation. Jemimah Rodrigues once again finds herself in a situation where she would be playing to save her place in the XI after four failures.

India have found a much-needed finisher in the young Richa Ghosh but skipper Harmanpreet Kaur could do with more support in the middle order.

On the bowling front, spinner Deepti Sharma is the only one who has taken wickets regularly, five in total.
Renuka Singh, the team’s go to bowler in the last six months and rookie left-arm pacer Anjali Sarvani, have only delivered in patches.

To be fair to the bowlers, the high-scoring wickets in the series have only made their task tougher. Chasing 189 in the previous game, India fell only seven runs short but with their gallant effort, they displayed the ability to gun down any total on their day.

Australia, on the other hand, will be aiming to end the series on a winning note. Vice-captain Tahlia McGrath confirmed on the eve of the game that skipper Alyssa Healy will not be fit in time for the final. Healy retired hurt on 30 in the fourth T20 with a leg injury.

While opener Beth Mooney remains the leading run-scorer in the series, Perry has shown menacing form and could well surpass the fellow Australian following two consecutive 70 plus scores. McGrath will continue to lead the side.
Spinner Ashleigh Gardner, who also made a match-winning contribution with the bat in the previous game, has been the team’s leading wicket-taker with five scalps at a frugal economy rate of 7.71 runs per over.

Australia: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and Annabel Sutherland.

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh Thakur, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Devika Vaidya, S Meghana, Richa Ghosh and Harleen Deol. Match starts 7 PM IST

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