Listless India suffer 5-wkt loss to Australia in warm-up game

PTI Posted: Jan 29, 2013 at 1737 hrs
Mumbai A listless Indian women\'s team failed to click in all departments of the game as they were handed a five-wicket thumping defeat by Australia in their second warm up game ahead of the ICC World Cup here today.

India could score just 222 for eight after opting to bat and the Australians chased down the target of 223 runs in 37.3 overs, despite losing a wicket in the first over.

The Indian batters were led by Harmanpreet Kaur in the absence of Mithali Raj and they started well. But soon after they began struggling and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. They lost half their side for the score of 116.

Raj had viral fever in the morning, which prompted her to take rest, but the team manager later said that she was fine.

The opening pair of Poonam Raut and Thirushkamini Murugesan added 47 runs for the first wicket before the latter was caught behind off Aussie pacer Megan Schutt.

Raut then forged a 54-run stand with Mona Meshram for the second wicket. But the Indian side lost Raut (31) and Meshram (25) in a span of two overs, which brought down the run rate.

India suffered two quick blows after all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar picked up Meshram and Karuna Jain in consecutive deliveries. Reema Malhotra tried to consolidate the innings with Harmanpreet Kaur, wicketkeeper Sulkashana Naik and Amita Sharma.

The Indian number eight, Niranjana Nagrajan accelerated the innings and scored a quickfire 26-ball unbeaten 35 to take her side to a respectable total.

From the Australian side, Sthalekar was the chief tormentor and picked up three wickets for 29 runs in her six overs. Schutt snapped up two wickets, while Sarah Coyte, Renee Chappell and Holly Ferling picked up a wicket each.

The Australians lost their opener Mag Lanning but soon recovered from the blow and won the match comfortably with 11.3 overs overs to spare.

Skipper Jodie Fields retired after scoring a half century to give Erin Osborne batting practice. Fields scored her 52 from 46 balls striking seven fours, while wicketkeeper batswoman Alysa Healy contributed an unbeaten 36.

Amita Sharma was the pick of the Indian bowlers, grabbing two wickets for 26 runs. Spinners Rasnara Parvin and Gouhar Sultana got a wicket apiece, while medium pacer Niranjana Nagrajan picked up one.

The Indian team will undergo practice under lights for the first time tomorrow, ahead of their first World Cup game against West Indies on Thursday, which is a day-night

encounter.

Indian team vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur said her side would bat first on the flat track against the West Indies at Brabourne Stadium if they win the toss.

\"We will try to bat,\" Harmanpreet told reporters after the practice match.

Brief Scores:

India 222/8 in 50 overs. (Niranjana Nagrajan 35, Reema Malhotra 35, Lisa Sthalekar 3/29).

Australia 223/5 in 37.3 overs (Jodie Feilds 52 retired, Alysa Healy 36 not out, Amita Sharma 2/26).