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Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars wrap up tour 7-1
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars have claimed the T20 series against India, despite losing the fifth and final T20 match in Vizag.
The eight-wicket loss was the Southern Stars' first defeat of the tour, seeing them finish the three-match ODI and five-match T20 tour with a 7-1 record.
After winning the toss and electing to bat the visitors struggled to gain much traction early in their innings. Opener Alyssa Healy (5), who notched back-to-back half centuries in the two previous T20 matches, was bowled by Jhulan Goswami (5-11) in the third over. Goswami missed the two previous matches as she travelled to New Delhi to accept a Padma Shri award from India's President Pratibha Patil. She wasted no time making her presence known as she followed up her first wicket two overs later when she bowled Lisa Sthalekar (2).
Opener Leah Poulton (30) returned to the line-up and was in good touch as she hit three fours and one six and finished as the side's leading run-scorer for the match.
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars struggled to stem the steady loss of wickets, as they went four down in their first 10 overs. Archana Das (3-8) took care of the Southern Stars' middle order as she cleaned up Rachael Haynes (7), Alex Blackwell (20) and Jodie Fields (10) within the space of four overs.
Goswami stepped up to take care of the tail-end of the Southern Stars' line-up, claiming the final three wickets in the 19th over to restrict the visitors to 89.
Indian opener Amita Sharma (55*) had a lot to prove after some lean figures in this T20 series to date. She came out firing and had no trouble finding the boundary, hitting nine fours during her stint at the crease. Sharma and Poonam Raut (16) built an opening partnership of 54-runs before Sthalekar (2-14) broke through with the first wicket in the seventh over when she caught and bowled Raut.
Sthalekar was the only Southern Stars player to claim wickets, with her second victim Harmanpreet Kaur (9) caught out by Erin Osborne in the 12th over.
The visitors struggled to stem the Indians' flow of runs and the hosts surpassed their target, reaching 92 in the 15th over to claim victory.
After the match captain Jodie Fields said her side was disappointed not to finish the tour with a clean slate.
"(It was) probably a bit disappointing from us today. We really wanted to come out and play well but I think it was a credit to India, well led by Jhulan Goswami and Amita (Sharma) in the batting innings," Fields said.
"I think they executed well today and on the opposite we didn't so unfortunately we came away 4-1 but we've learnt a good lesson today."
Fields said her side would be careful not to underestimate India ahead of this year's T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
"I think if they keep working on their game they will definitely be a force in the T20 World Cup and we're going to have to go away and work hard on our game to make sure we're ready to compete with the top four teams," Fields said.
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars will travel back to Mumbai on 24 March before departing India on 26 March.
The full scorecard can be found here<http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/552939.html>
Photos from the match can be found at www.facebook.com/cricketaustralia<http://www.facebook.com/cricketaustralia> as well as the Cricket Australia Media Centre.
Follow the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars' progress on Twitter @_SouthernStars<https://twitter.com/#!/_southernstars>
21. August 67
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS