Australia book place in another Women’s T20 World Cup final after India drama
Defending champions Australia held their nerve to reach the T20 World Cup final after a five-run victory over India, who were left to rue costly dismissals of Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues in their chase.
Another half-century from Beth Mooney and fireworks from Meg Lanning and Ashleigh Gardner down the order set India 173 to win in Cape Town.
It looked unlikely when they were reduced to 28 for three but Rodrigues and captain Kaur led the fightback with 43 and 52 respectively, only for both to throw their wickets away at crucial moments to ensure Australia progressed into a seventh consecutive T20 World Cup final after India made 167 for eight.
They will face the winners of tomorrow’s England v South Africa semi on Sunday.
Mooney helped Australia make a strong start after they won the toss and elected to bat first with 52 put on for the first wicket with Alyssa Healy.
Healy’s departure brought Lanning to the crease and the captain put her foot on the accelerator.
India’s sloppiness in the field saw Lanning and Mooney afforded lives before the Australian opener was dismissed for a fine 54 off 37 balls.
Gardner picked up the baton with five boundaries in an impressive 18-ball innings of 31 to help the reigning champions post 172 for four despite the best efforts of Shikha Pandey, who claimed two wickets for 32 runs.
Lanning ended Australia’s innings with two lusty blows for six to finish on 49 not out which would later prove crucial but only after India made a poor start to their chase.
Smriti Mandhana, who was recently signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for around £340,000, went cheaply alongside fellow opener Shafali Verma.
When Yastika Bhatia was run out for four, India were on the ropes but Rodrigues was not about to give up the fight.
Rodrigues blitzed her way to 43 before she gave her wicket away with an upper-cut edged behind to Healy from the bowling of Darcie Brown.
India were still on top of the run-rate with captain Kaur looking in fine touch but she also suffered a disappointing end.
Not long after bringing up her half-century with two fours in quick succession, Kaur suffered the unfortunate fate of being run out after her bat got caught in the wicket while attempting to finish a second run after finding deep mid-wicket.
At 133 for five, India could not recover and Brown helped herself to excellent figures of two for 18 before Gardner brought proceedings to a close with a two-wicket haul as their opponents fell short.