Mumbai, May 28: The first national Indigenous women’s team has completed its historic 10-day tour of India with back-to-back matches in Mumbai on Saturday.
The team battled harsh conditions throughout the tour – with temperatures at times pushing beyond 45 degrees – to finish with one win and wealth of experience.
Team coach and Former ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year and four-time Australian Women’s Cricketer of the Year Shelley Nitschke said: It’s been a wonderful experience for the girls, many of whom had never previously left Australian shores.
“Playing in India is one of cricket’s toughest tasks. The girls acquitted themselves well and they should be extremely proud of their performances and the way they’ve represented their Indigenous heritage.
“There’s no doubt they’ll return to Australia better players having gained the experience of playing in India. They will forever be the first Indigenous women’s team selected and they have laid a strong foundation for future generations of female Indigenous cricketers.”
The team travelled to India 150 years after the first all-aboriginal cricket team was formed in 1866, which later went on to tour England in 1868.
Playing duties were combined with cultural and community activities, including a visit to the iconic Taj Mahal and working with NGO Magic Bus to provide a special cricket clinic for local Mumbai kids.
Magic Bus works with India’s poorest children and young people to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to grow up and move out of poverty.
The tour of India is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-India Council as a program that will build awareness and understanding between Australia and India, in this instance through sport and Indigenous culture.
Players return to Australia on Monday.
Match 1 – Delhi
Yuvraj Singh Academy 9/162 (20) (Natalie Plane 3/17) def. National Indigenous Women’s Team 6/110 (20) (Roxsanne Van-Veen 38, Ashleigh Gardner 26).
The team’s introduction to Indian conditions was a true eye-opener. The team adjusted as the match went on but the local team was too strong on home soil.
Natalie Plane impressed with the ball early and in the dying overs to finish with 3/17. NSW duo Roxsanne Van-Veen and Ashleigh Gardner led the touring side’s run chase.
Match 2 – Delhi
Abandoned due to rain.
Match 3 – Delhi
Delhi Women’s Team 113 (20) (Natalie Plane 3/19, Sally Moylan 2/16, Gardner 2/16) def. by National Indigenous Women’s Team 7/115 (19.2) (Carly Fuller 46, Ashleigh Gardner 20).
The National Indigenous Women’s team claimed its historic first win under lights in Mumbai. Samara Williams hit her first ball for four to seal the game in the final over after Carly Fuller and Ashleigh Gardner set a strong batting platform.
Natalie Plane again took a liking to the Indian conditions with 3/19 to lead the bowling attack for the Indigenous women.
Match 4 – Mumbai
Mumbai Women’s Team 8/214 (40) (Natalie Plane 4/34, Jacinta Goodger-Chandler 2/29) def. National Indigenous Women’s Team 111 (27.4) (Roxsanne Van-Veen 25, Sara Darney 21).
A tough match on a low, tricky pitch against a high quality Mumbai outfit that contained at least one Indian national player.
Victorians Natalie Plane and Jacinta Goodger-Chandler led the bowling and the NSW double act of Roxsanne Van-Veen and Sara Darney were the best of the batters.
Match 5 – Mumbai
National Indigenous Women’s Team 5/137 (20) (Sara Darney 63*, Ashleigh Gardner 22) def. by Mumbai Women’s Team 4/140 (17.4) (Haylee Hoffmeister 2/25, Jemma Astley 1/3)
Up against a strong Mumbai women’s team, the tourists posted a strong total batting first in the morning T20 match thanks to an unbeaten 63 from Sara Darney, who was ably supported by captain Ashleigh Gardner (22).
The local side, clearly comfortable on the slow, spinning pitch, chased down the competitive total in the 18th over for six-wicket win. Haylee Hoffmeister from NSW was the best of the bowlers with 2/25.
Match 6 – Mumbai
National Indigenous Women’s Team 83 (14.2) (Roxsanne Van-Van 23) def. by Mumbai Women’s Team 2/89 (13.5) (Jemma Astley 1/16, Sally Moylan 1/16) *Match reduced to 15 overs per side due to heat.
In match shortened to 15-overs aside due to extreme heat, the national Indigenous women’s side again batted first, taking the opportunity to flip their batting order.
The strain of a heavy tour showed in the match as the touring team lost early wickets, eventually dismissed for 83. Roxsanne Van-Veen led a lower order resistence with 23.
In a final gallant bowling effort, the Indigenous women pushed the fresher Mumbai side into the second last over of the match, eventually going down by eight wickets.