Beth Mooney’s career-best century has lifted Australia to the most remarkable win of their record ODI streak, which now spans 26 games after a dramatic final-ball victory over India in Mackay.
Meg Lanning’s juggernaut, having bettered the world-record mark of Ricky Ponting’s 2003 World Cup winners in a stretch of dominance dating back to 2018, looked set to finally come unstuck after the tourists posted a total of 7-274 on Friday.
But a masterclass from Mooney, who carried her bat to finish 125 not out after being promoted to open in the injury-enforced absence of Rachael Haynes, rescued her side after a top-order collapse.
Mooney staged an epic comeback from 4-53, dragging her side to a five-wicket win with help from Tahlia McGrath (74) and Nicola Carey (39no).
It was fitting that an incredible match was decided in a final over stacked with stunning moments and much drama, including a beamer from Jhulan Goswami that clattered Carey’s helmet.
The victory equation for Australia was 13 runs off the final over, then three runs from the last delivery.
Goswami, whose unbeaten 28 was a vital cameo with the bat, celebrated prematurely when she bowled the last ball – a full toss that Carey clubbed to midwicket.
The delivery was judged a no-ball on height by the third umpire, allowing Carey and Mooney to scamper through for two and avoid a super over.
“I just really want to sit down right now,” an exhausted Mooney told reporters, having been dropped on one by Poonam Yadav at midwicket.
“It’s pretty remarkable we came back from that to win the game.
“I thought we were gone for all money.”
Mooney wasn’t sure about the contentious call but indicated those on the sideline felt it was a “clear no-ball”.
Opener Smriti Mandhana, whose brisk 86 put her side on track for an upset after being invited to bat first, admitted that dropping Mooney “hurt a bit” but she played a straight bat to the no-ball call.
“On the field it’s very hard to judge,” Mandhana said.
“We’ll have a look at it.”
India asked Australia to complete the second-highest successful run-chase in the side’s trophy-laden history.
It looked tough.
It looked even tougher when star opener Alyssa Healy was bowled for a third-ball duck then Lanning picked out Rajeshwari Gayakwad at deep square leg in the sixth over.
And it looked near-impossible after the dismissals of Ashleigh Gardner and allrounder Ellyse Perry, whose figures of 0-32 from five overs were also symbolic of a depleted attack that struggled to fill the void of spearhead Megan Schutt and spinner Jess Jonassen.
But McGrath and Mooney’s 126-run stand shifted momentum and gave their side genuine belief, while muted century celebrations from the latter in the 46th over were reflective of a batter on a mission.
Mooney never panicked as the escalating required run-rate threatened to get out of hand.