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Poonam Yadav stuns Australia to pull off major upset in T20 World Cup opener
Match Report

Poonam Yadav stuns Australia to pull off major upset in T20 World Cup opener

Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav bamboozled Australia in a magical spell of bowling to deliver India a riveting 17-run win in the opening game of the women's T20 World Cup in Sydney on Friday.

Yadav scalped four wickets to stifle Australia's progress as the tournament favourites stuttered in their pursuit of the modest 133-run target.

Voted India's top female player in 2019, Yadav provided with crucial incisions as she sent Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry back to the pavilion to remove the backbone of the home side's batting line-up.

Elated by India's remarkable feat, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was not shy of expressing joy at her team achieving the unthinkable.

"It is a great relief to win, I'm really happy for my girls," she said.

"We knew this track is something where we could do well. If we could get to 140, we thought the bowlers can do the job. A bowler like Poonam is someone who leads from the front."

Yadav was the chief destroyer of Australia's batting charge as her timely strikes triggered a devastating collapse for the hosts.

Yadav was complemented by a concerted bowling effort from Shikha Pandey, who chipped in with a valuable contribution of three wickets.

Only two batters from Australia managed to reach double figures, an aspect of their shoddy performance that has attracted the ire of captain Meg Lanning.

"They started off well and put us under the pump. At the halfway mark, 133 to chase, we thought we were in a pretty good place to win," she said following her team's defeat.

"Unfortunately we didn't quite execute with the bat today. There was a lack of partnerships through the middle and India bowled extremely well. We came into this match as ready as we could have been but India outplayed us a little bit."

Lanning's Australia, four-time World Cup winners, are now in danger of being knocked out of the group stage since New Zealand are strong contenders also slotted in the five-team group.

Earlier in the day, India looked set to climb to a daunting total but were derailed in the death overs owing to the loss of frequent wickets.

India had vaulted into a strong position courtesy of top-scorer Deepti Sharma, however, they were unsettled by a severe shortage of boundary hitting balls.