Jemimah Rodrigues shines on her India comeback as rain plays spoilsport in first T20I

Jemimah Rodrigues © Getty Images

After missing out in the ODI and Test leg of the series Jemimah Rodrigues returned to the Indian team,  showing her class with an unbeaten 49, in the first T20I against Australia on Thursday (October 7) before rain stopped the play. India were going strong at 131 for four after 15 overs when rain interrupted and the match was eventually abandoned.

Australian skipper Meg Lanning won the toss and invited India to bat first with Tayla Vlaeminck making a much-awaited return for the hosts. Vlaeminck started with a huge no-ball, followed by a six over cover by Shafali Verma. Left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux started from the end only to concede 14 runs from her first over as Smriti Mandhana went all guns blazing against the 23-year-old.

Desperate to put brakes on India’s run rate, Lanning introduced the reliable Ashleigh Gardner in the fourth over, and she delivered. Mandhana miscued a lofted shot to Hannah Darlington. Verma smacked the allrounder for a six, but Gardner had the last laugh as the 17-year-old holed out to Georgia Wareham at deep midwicket off the very next delivery.

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With two new players at the crease, Lanning continued with Vlaeminck, but Kaur nailed the pull shot to get off the mark. After scoring two more boundaries off the next couple of deliveries she faced, the Indian skipper was trapped on the pads by Molineux for a five-ball 12. The left-arm spinner had nearly sent Bhatia packing the very next ball, but the umpire turned down the huge LBW appeal.

Bhatia made the most of the lifeline by playing the role of the anchor with Rodrigues at the other end scoring crucial boundaries. The duo was excellent with running between the wickets, adding 51 runs for the fourth wicket.

Rodrigues was on the money throughout her innings as she made most of the bad deliveries from the inexperienced Australian bowlers. During the course of belligerent 36-ball 49, the 21-year-old became the youngest player to score 1000 runs in T20Is.

For Australia, experienced campaigner Ellyse Perry bowled only one over, and  Wareham took a wicket on her first ball of the series. Debutant Hannah Darlington and Tahlia McGrath were expensive, and only Vlaeminck completed her quota of four overs. The match was first stooped due to rain and was later abandoned, with both teams sharing a point each. The second match will be played on Saturday (October 09)

Brief Score: India 131/4 in 15.2 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 49*, Shafali Verma 18; Ashleigh Gardner 2/28) v Australia