Ace leg spinner Poonam Yadav produced a stunning spell midway through Australia's chase to bring India back into the contest and eventually win the thrilling ICC Women's T20 World Cup opener by 17 runs in Sydney on Friday.
Poonam, who came into the attack in the 10th over, finished with figures of 4/19 from her four overs - a spell that the defending champions could not recover from.
Australia's bowlers, earlier in the day, struck telling blows to keep India's openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma from running away with the game. However, the batting unit failed to match up to that effort and were bowled out for 115 in 19.5 overs in reply to India's 132/4.
India began with a flurry of boundaries as openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma found the sweet spot of the willow with ease. But Australia bounced back with three wickets, including that of Harmanpreet Kaur, to restrict India to 132/4.
Teenage sensation Shafali Verma took India to 40 for no loss in four overs with a typically aggressive 29 off 15 balls but her fall derailed the innings as the others disappointed.
Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen (2/24) snapped two quick wickets, Smriti Mandhana (10 off 11) and Harmanpreet (2 off 5) to reduce India to 47 for three.
Deepti Sharma then shared a 53-run partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues (26 off 33) to bring up the 100 in the 16th over.
Deepti made a composed 46-ball 49 in the second half of the innings but the firepower that India needed in the death overs was badly missing.
For Australia, Ellyse Perry (1/15) and Delissa Kimmince (1/24) were the other wicket-takers.
Australia were off to a good start to their chase with opener Alyssa Healy making a 35-ball 51, laced with six boundaries and a six.
However, Indian spinners led by Poonam triggered a collapse as Australia suddenly slipped to 82 for 6.
Poonam (4/19) snapped four wickets, two in successive deliveries in the 12th over, to break the back of Australia's chase.
Ashleigh Gardner (34 off 36) tried her bit but didn't get any support from the other end, and she along with Healy were the only ones to register scores in double figures.
The 28-year-old from Agra was on a hat-trick but narrowly missed out as wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia dropped a difficult chance off Jess Jonassen. Later on though the leg spinner did get to dismiss Jonassen as Bhatia held on to the catch the second time.
Shikha Pandey was also among the wickets and finished with three to her name while Rajeshwari Gayakwad dismissed the opposition skipper Meg Lanning.
The tournament-opener saw a record 13,000 plus attendance with a sizeable chunk supporting India.
India next play against Bangladesh in Perth on February 24.