Cricket fans have been left gobsmacked by an “unplayable” ball in the second women’s T20 between Australia and India on Saturday night.
A victory would give Australia an unassailable lead in the multi-format series and the home side would have fancied its chances after restricting the Indians to 118 off their 20 overs.
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Alyssa Healy started the run chase with a boundary off the very first ball of the innings but the opener’s night was cut short the very next delivery when she was on the receiving end of what many fans are labelling the “ball of the century”.
Indian fast bowler Shikha Pandey, playing her first match of the series, clean bowled Healy with a stunning inswinger.
The ball started about a foot outside off stump but deviated a huge distance to sneak past the Australian wicketkeeper’s defences, clipping the top of the stumps and sending the zing bails flying.
Healy had no hope whatsoever to hit the unbelievable delivery that had viewers in shock.
“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.”
Ex-Australian batter Brad Hodge added: “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’.”
“I can’t believe that delivery,” commentator Andy Maher said.
“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?”
Pandey’s delivery had players and fans alike in disbelief, with many describing the wicket-ball as “unplayable” and a contender for ball of the century.
Injured Australian all-rounder Jess Jonassen tweeted: “Talk about a Saturday SEED!!”
Former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer added: “Ball of the century, women’s cricket edition! Take a bow Shikha Pandey”.
“This might be the most unplayable delivery I’ve ever seen. Incredible,” sports reporter Mark Gottlieb said.
“What a freaking sensational ball! cricket reporter Melinda Farrell said. “Absolutely ridiculous”.
ABC sport journalist Brittany Carter also praised Pandey’s delivery.
“My word,” she tweeted. “Doesn’t matter how many times you replay this delivery, it beggars belief! What an absolute peach”
Sports journalist Daniel Cherny added: “That is as unplayable as it gets from Pandey.”
“Holy hell. That is ball of the century stuff. Unbelievable.”
The loss of Healy triggered a collapse for Australia with captain Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Ash Gardner and Ellyse Perry all falling cheaply.
At one stage the Aussies were looking shaky at 5-71 but a steadying knock of 42 off 33 balls from player of the match Tahlia McGrath and a cameo from Georgia Wareham got them over the line with five balls to spare.
McGrath has impressed across all three formats and was ecstatic to secure the victory for Australia.
“Pretty good feeling at the moment,” she said after the match.
“The bowlers set it up from the start. India bowled really well early. Pretty happy to get away with the win and the series win.
“It’s pretty special. It’s been an unreal series, some really exciting cricket.
“To have the series win wrapped up now with a game to play is pretty special.”