Australia’s all-conquering women’s team have finally lost an international — but it took a dazzling Super Over by India’s big hitters to consign them to a first defeat in 2022.

Their second T20 international in Mumbai on Sunday went to the extra over after a thrilling tie which featured India’s Devika Vaidya hitting a four off the final ball of the regulation 20 overs to level the scores in front of an ecstatic full-house of 45,238.

Taking advantage of their great escape, India’s power players Richa Ghosh and player of the match Smriti Mandhana then both smashed sixes off T20I debutant Heather Graham in a Super Over that got clattered for 20 runs.

In response, Australia’s batters, headed by captain Alyssa Healy’s 15 off five balls, fell four runs short after mustering 16 in total.

After 21 victories over a triumphant year, it was an agonising first defeat for the new Aussie skipper, whose world champions had looked set to win again after a masterful record-breaking stand between their ‘M&M’ combo — Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath.

Alyssa Healy
Alyssa Healy’s big hitting in the Super Over wasn’t enough to get Australia over the line.(Getty Images: Pankaj Nangia)

But Healy recognised that the sport had ended up as the real winner after one of the great women’s white-ball matches.

“I mean, what a game of cricket that was and what a showcase of fearless cricket that is over here in India and for thousands of people to be able to witness this is pretty special,” Healy said.

“I thought we did well to be in that game. India were all over us right throughout that chase. The fact that we hung in there, took it to Super Over, we can be pretty proud of that.”

Put in to bat, the visitors amassed a formidable 1-187 with Mooney (82no) and McGrath (70no), who’d guided them to a nine-wicket win in the first match with an unbroken stand of 100, this time putting on an unbeaten 158 for the second wicket, an Australian record for any wicket in a T20I.

It looked as if it would be too high a mountain for the Indian batters but, taking advantage of the lightning-fast outfield and short boundaries, opener Mandhana crashed 79 off 49 balls before Ghosh muscled three late sixes to continually keep them in the hunt.

Needing an unlikely 14 to win off the last over, Vaidya then stepped up as the home side’s hero, thick-edging the second ball for four and slicing the last ball from Megan Schutt over backward point to earn the boundary that levelled the scores at 5-187 and sent the packed crowd in the D.Y. Patil Stadium, attracted by the free entry offer, into ecstatic celebration mode.

They became even more animated in the Super Over when Graham got whacked over long-on for six by Ghosh on the first ball. Even though she departed next ball, Mandhana took over to hit 4, 6 and 3 off the last three.

It was hard on Graham, who’d earlier been Australia’s best performer with the ball, taking 3-22 off her four overs as the Indians went for broke — but a target of 21 was too much for the Aussies once Healy’s partner Ashleigh Gardner was caught in the deep off Renuka Singh first ball and McGrath could only muster a single.

Healy hit the last two balls for four and six but it was too little, too late on what had proved a difficult day for the Australians, after earlier news that leading spinner Jess Jonassen had been ruled out of the series with a hamstring problem.

Legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington is flying out to replace her.