India suffered a dramatic batting collapse in the second part of their innings and were handed a crushing eight-wicket defeat by defending champions Australia in their opening match of the women's World Twenty20, at the Galle International stadium, on Thursday.
Electing to bat in the Group 'A' match, India were comfortably placed at 63 for 2 midway into their innings before captain Mithali Raj's dismissal triggered a collapse. They ended up with just 104 for 8 in 20 overs.
Australia chased down the target of 105 in 17.2 overs, with opener Meg Lanning top-scoring with a 50-ball 39.
Jess Cameron chipped in with a quick-fire 32-ball unbeaten 36 as Australia scored 105 for 2.
India lost openers Amita Sharma (11) and top-scorer Poonam Raut (21) in the fifth and seventh overs respectively, but, having scored 62 for 2 at the halfway mark, were still in a good position to put up a fighting total.
However, Mithali's (18) run-out to the first ball of the 11th over triggered a collapse, and by the 14th India were 73 for 5, just 10 runs added in 3.5 overs at the expense of three wickets.
Nagarajan Niranjana (15 off 14 balls) saved India some blushes in a 25-run partnership with Mona Meshram (7), taking the team close to the century mark.
But, then again, India lost three wickets for just seven runs in the last two overs, slumping from 97 for 5 to 104 for 8.
Off-spinner Erin Osborne picked three Indian wickets for 13 runs while pacer Julie Hunter and left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen chipped in with 2 for 23 and 1 and 6 respectively.
Australia made an aggressive start in their run chase, putting up 43 runs in six overs by the time their first wicket -- Alyssa Healy (21) -- fell off pacer Shubhlakshmi Sharma.
Jess Cameron (36 off 32 balls) then joined Lanning in a 49-run second-wicket stand in 8.3 overs to take Australia to the brink of victory.
When Lanning was out for 39 to Jhulan Goswami, only 13 runs were required from 5.3 overs which Australia scored without much trouble.
India's next group match is against England on Saturday.
Amita Sharma c Cameron b Hunter 11
Poonam Raut c Cameron b Osborne 21
Mithali Raj run out 18
Harmanpreet Kaur c Healy b Sthalekar 18
Jhulan Goswami c Cameron b Jonassen 2
Mona Meshram c Haynes b Osborne 7
Nagarajan Niranjana c Perry b Osborne 15
Sulakshana Naik not out 2
Shubhalakshmi Sharma st Fields b Hunter 4
Archana Das not out 1
Extras: (LB-2, W-1, NB-2) 5
Total: (For 8 wkts in 20 overs) 104
Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-38, 3-63, 4-66, 5-73, 6-97, 7-98, 8-102.
Bowling: Ellyse Perry 4-0-24-0, Julie Hunter 4- 0-23-2, Lisa Sthalekar 4-0-18-1, Erin Osborne 3-0-13-3, Rachael Haynes 2-0-18-0, Jesse Jonassen 3-1-6-1.
Meg Lanning b Goswami 39
Alyssa Healy c Das b Sharma 21
Jesse Cameron not out 36
Lisa Sthalekar not out 3
Extras: (LB-2, W-3, NB-1) 6
Total: (For 2 wkts in 17.2 overs) 105
Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-92
Bowling: Jhulan Goswami 4-0-21-1, Nagarajan Niranjana 2-0-17-0, Shubhalakshmi Sharma 3-0-22-1, Ekta Bisht 3.2-0-17-0, Archana Das 3-0-13-0, Mona Meshram 2-0-13-0.