'Ball of the century' leaves cricket world in a frenzy

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Pictured here, Shikha Pandey roars in delight after delivering the 'ball of the century' against Australia.
Shikha Pandey's amazing moment has been described by many as the 'ball of the century'. Pic: Fox Sports

A moment of absolute magic from Indian fast bowler Shikha Pandey has left the cricket world in a spin, during the second women’s T20 match against Australia on Saturday night.

Australia survived an almighty Indian fightback to win the match on the Gold Coast by four wickets, in a game that will remembered for one of the all-time great deliveries.  

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The victory secured Australia an unassailable 9-5 lead in the multi-format series ahead of Sunday's third T20I at Metricon Stadium.

The tense finish on Saturday appeared unlikely after Australia had reduced India to 9-81 during their innings before late hitting by Pooja Vastrakar lifted the tourists to 9-118.

The home side's run chase got off to a horror start, despite Alyssa Healy cracking a first-ball boundary off Pandey.

However, the Indian quick exacted her revenge on the very next ball, after sending down a delivery that epitomised the very definition of 'unplayable'.

Pandey's vicious inswinging ball started almost a metre outside Healy's off stump, before hitting the pitch and drastically deviating back towards the stumps.

A completely bamboozled Healy stuck out her bat in vain as the ball zipped through the Aussie's defences and rattled the top of her stumps.

“Talk about the swinging ball under lights,” former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar said in commentary.

“This has pitched sixth stump line and takes the top of off stump.

“Shikha Pandey, we have not seen her throughout this series at all and boy she has come in and made an impact.”

Seen here, Shikha Pandey celebrates with Indian teammates after taking the wicket of Alyssa Healy.
Shikha Pandey celebrates with Indian teammates after her extraordinary delivery to clean bowl Alyssa Healy. Pic: Getty

Ex-Australian batter Brad Hodge chimed in: “That’s extraordinary.”

“The only person I’ve seen do something similar was Shane Bond from New Zealand.

“That’s extraordinary for someone to move the ball and in the air off the seam. That’s a phenomenal delivery.

“That is significant deviation … for a ball that started at least two feet outside the off stump. Alyssa Healy would just walk back in and go, ‘Oh, too good for me that one tonight’.”

Co-commentator Andy Maher added: “I can’t believe that delivery. What a feeling, she get clobbered on the first ball but look at that. Have you ever seen a cricket ball do anything like that?”

Viewers were also left in a state of disbelief by Pandey's delivery, with many describing it as the 'ball of the century'. 

Tahlia McGrath steers Australia to win

Australia slumped to 4-46 midway through their run chase but Tahlia McGrath, who made her T20I debut in Thursday's washed-out game, scored an unbeaten 42 to see the home side reach the target of 119 with five balls to spare.

Spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad came on to remove Aussie skipper Meg Lanning (15), and when Ash Gardner (1) and Ellyse Perry (2) fell cheaply the hosts were reeling.

Beth Mooney's dismissal for 34, stumped off Rajeshwari, threw even more consternation among the Australian camp.

However, McGrath stepped up and fittingly scored the winning run off the first ball of the final over to ensure Australia took out the win and the series.

"It was a long time coming that T20 debut so I was pretty happy to get the hat and then the rain sort of dampened the mood, so pretty special win tonight and extra special to wrap up the series," McGrath said.

"The wicket was playing a little bit trickier than we initially thought and to be honest, the innings, I was in two minds whether I just try and keep the run rate as close as possible or whether I try and get a big over.

"So I was in two minds for a lot of the innings but luckily it came off in the end."

with AAP

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