The India cricket team started its ICC Women’s World Cup 2020 campaign with a bang, stunning defending champions Australia by 17 runs. Playing her comeback match, Indian leggie Poonam Yadav bowled a magical spell to outwit mighty Australians.
Put in to bat first, India struggled initially and put up a sub-par total of 132 on the board. But Poonam’s four-wicket haul at the expense of only 19 runs in her quota of 4 overs broke the back of Australia’s chase. She foxed the Aussies with her googlies, turning the match decisively in her team's favour.
After a successful start of India’s World Cup campaign, former captain Diana Edulji hailed the team’s effort but also raised concerns over batters’ performance. Batswomen needed to step up, she emphasised. "Great win. Congratulations. Well bowled Poonam Yadav. Batters have to come to the party too. 170-plus score a must. Go India get the Cup home," news agency IANS quoted Edulji as saying.
Poonam Yadav in ICC Women's T20 world Cup opener against Australia. Photo: AP | PTIPoonam Yadav’s comeback
Yadav took four wickets – and almost completed a hat-trick –to help India successfully defend a low target of 133. Suffering from injuries in the build-up to the tournament, she came back strongly and thanked her physio and teammates for helping her get back to match fitness in time for the World Cup. "My physio and my teammates supported me a lot when I was injured. I had bowled well against Australia here in the past, so I wanted to continue that," she said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Yadav dismissed Rachael Haynes and Australia's star all-rounder Elysse Perry off consecutive balls and then almost took a hat-trick, but Taniya Bhatia dropped Jess Jonassen in what was a rare mistake from the wicketkeeper. "This is the third time that I didn't get a hat-trick. I am thankful to my teammates as it is not easy to come back after an injury," she said.
Former cricketers and celebrities hailed India’s victory and Yadav’s contribution in the win.
Several legends of the game, including Virender Sehwag, V V S Laxman, Mithali Raj and celebrities Anushka Sharma and Taapsee Pannu, congratulated the team.
Congratulations @BCCIWomen on a magnificent beginning to the World Cup Campaign. Great effort by Poonam Yadav and the bowlers to defend 132 against Australia. Best wishes for the matches ahead #AusvInd pic.twitter.com/se9F12Xvpa— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) February 21, 2020
A big cheer for the the Women in Blue for their first game in the #T20WorldCup and for the entire tournament... We're watching you ladies smash it on the field and we'll be rooting for you all through. #TeamIndia #AusvInd— Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) February 21, 2020
What a start to the tournament, @BCCIWomen! Beating the hosts and defending champions Australia in the very first game!— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) February 21, 2020
Deepti’s resolve put runs on the board before Poonam Yadav literally ‘turned’ things around! Top stuff, girls! #T20WorldCup #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/EDRbMVzISK
An excellent start for the girls in #WT20WC with @Deepti_Sharma06 (49 not out) doing well with the bat, @shikhashauny picking 3 wickets and @poonam_yadav24 taking 4 wickets for 19 runs. #AUSvIND @BCCIWomen @T20WorldCup @ICC— Jhulan Goswami (@JhulanG10) February 21, 2020