India caused a big upset in the ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final by beating reigning champions Australia by 36 runs in front of a good crowd in Derby, setting up a final showdown with England.
Harmanpreet Kaur top-scored with an impressive 171 as India posted 281-4 from their 42 overs in a rain-affected match eighth match of the tournament in Derby.
Wickets throughout the bowling unit backed up Kaur’s powerful hitting as the subcontinent side bowled Australia out for 245 to set up a final with England at Lord’s on Sunday 23 July; 10.30am start.
After a rain-hit morning that saw the game reduced to 42 overs for each side, India won the toss and decided to bat first, a decision that seemed to backfire early as Smriti Mandhana (6) went in the first over.
Mithali Raj looked to find a way back into the game by steadying the ship for her side, but her partner Punam Raut could only add 14 runs before she went for 36 off 61 balls.
India began to gain control of the game through Kaur who managed to reach her century after 90 balls. Adding 50 more runs to her total from just 17 balls, she powered India past 250 before she fell on 171 and the innings closed 281-4.
Australia’s chase began poorly, falling to 21-3 after eight overs, with Mooney (1), Nicole Bolton (14), and Captain Meg Lanning (0) all back in the pavilion.
Villani helped bring her side back into the game, scoring a quickfire 75 from 58 balls before she was caught by Mandhana, leaving Australia needing 156 from 18 overs.
Just two overs later India got another key wicket as they dismissed Perry (38) to put them back in control.
Needing to score quickly, Australia’s aggressive approach brought both runs and wickets, Alyssa Healy (5), Ashleigh Gardner (1), Jess Jonassen (1) and Megan Schutt (2) all within four overs.
An impressive late stand from Alex Blackwell (90), who looked assured at the crease supported by Kristen Beams (11 not out), wasn’t enough as Sharma bowled Blackwell to confirm a win by 36 runs and more importantly a final against England on Sunday.
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