Ashleigh Gardner fell just seven runs short of a first T20 century for Australia.
Ashleigh Gardner fell just seven runs short of a first T20 century for Australia.

India chase down Aussie women despite Gardner’s super knock

AUSTRALIA are in danger of missing the women's Twenty20 international tri-series final after an upset seven-wicket loss to India at Melbourne's Junction Oval.

A career-best score from Ashleigh Gardner powered Australia to 5-173, but India's top order came out in scintillating fashion to secure a thrilling victory on Saturday with three balls to spare.

It is the third-highest successful chase in women's international T20 history.

Australia will have to defeat England, who they lost to earlier in the tournament, on Sunday to be assured of their place in Wednesday's decider.

Indian opener Shafali Verma came out swinging, with her 49 from 28 balls setting the visitors en route to their second win of the series.

Smriti Mandhana (55) and Jemimah Rodrigues (30) also played vital steering knocks, with the hosts' sloppy performance in the field not helping their cause.

Earlier, player-of-the-match Gardner's sparkling 93 from 57 balls easily eclipsed past her previous best of 63 not out.

She was caught at mid-off going for one big shot too many with her maiden ton in sight.

It was Gardner's third half-century in her 32nd T20 international.

Ashleigh Gardner was player of the match after belting 93 from 57 balls.
Ashleigh Gardner was player of the match after belting 93 from 57 balls.

Gardner came in at No.3 and her knock was not without its challenges, as she was almost stumped once and came close to being caught a number of times.

But her supreme innings allowed Australia to recover from a disastrous start when Alyssa Healy was dismissed for a third-ball duck.

Smriti Mandhana top-scored for India with 55.
Smriti Mandhana top-scored for India with 55.

It continued Healy's poor run of form in the tri-series, which is a concern leading up the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Captain Meg Lanning impressed with a cameo of 37 from 20 balls.



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