Melbourne, February 8: Smriti Mandhana slammed a superb half-century as India produced an improved batting show to notch up a seven-wicket win over Australia in the fifth T20, keeping themselves in the hunt for the finals at the women's triangular series here on Saturday (February 8).
Put in to bat, Australia posted 173 for 5, riding on a 57-ball 93 by Ashleigh Gardner and Meg Lanning's 22-ball 37 after India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and elected to field at Junction Oval. India then returned to overhaul the target, scoring 177 for three in 19.4 overs.
Sixteen-year-old Shafali Verma finally came good, blasting a 28-ball 49 to give India a flying start. Her innings contained eight fours and a six.
Smriti Mandhana (55) also smashed seven boundaries in her 48-ball innings to anchor the tricky chase. Jemimah Rodrigues also came out all cylinders blazing, making a quickfire 19-ball 30 with five fours.
In the end, skipper Harmanpreet (20 off 20 balls) and Deepti Sharma (11 off 4 balls) took the team home.
Earlier, Gardner sent the ball across the fence 11 times and blasted three sixes in her 57-ball innings to emerge as the top-scorer for Australia.
For India, Deepti Sharma (2/27) was the most outstanding bowler, snapping two wickets, while Rajeshwari Gayakwad (1/34), Radha Yadav (1/34) and Harleen Deol (1/21) took one wicket each.
Ellyse Perry (1/33), Megan Schutt (1/26) and Nicola Carey (1/27) accounted for one wicket each for Australia.
With this win, India moved to the second position in the points table, behind England. India had lost to Australia and England by an identical four-wicket margin in their last two matches in the series.
Australia will take on England in the final league match of the series on Sunday.
Brief Score: Australia women: 173/5 in 20 overs (Ashleigh Gardner 93; Deepti Sharma 2/27) lost to India women: 177/3 in 19.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 55, Shafali Verma 49; Megan Schutt 1/26) by 7 wickets.