It was an emphatic victory for India. Australia Women Team is defeated by 36 runs in the semi-final fixture of World Cup. And, all credit goes to Harmanpreet Kaur, the unbeaten Player of the Match who single handedly scripted India’s saga of crushing into World Cup final. Kaur played more than 32 overs hauling India’s score 281 in the shortened inning of 42 overs. Her blitz of 171 off 115 balls had 20 fours and 7 sixes. She emerged as the hero of the day, who did not even have the time to celebrate her century, being engrossed as such at national duty. Her injured wrist was enough to drive the deliveries off Kristen Beams, Jess Jonassen, Elysse Vilani and Megan Schutt to boundaries.
Australia Women faced the wrath of India bowlers in the chase. The team desperately lost the first 3 wickets in 21 runs. Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey and Deepti Sharma struct to take away Nicole Bolton, Beth Mooney, and Meg Lanning at paltry runs. Then came Elyse Villani, who salvaged the chase after the early collapse. She found out 14 boundaries to knock a 58 ball 75. But she became the next target being returned to the pavilion at the 24th over. The chase was at 126 for 4.
In the next stretch, it was Alex Blackwell who steered the inning. However, it was the worst stretch for Australia not only in the match, but in the entire tournament in terms of wickets. The team lost six wickets for next 43 runs. Blackwell knocked strong, but there were two issues. She didn’t have much overs, being late with her blitz as well as she had no formidable partnerships, as Aussie lower order slackened. Her knock of 90 runs off 56 balls could have changed Australia’s fate, but it was too late.
The match is a grand success for Mithali Raj, the captain. In the after-match interview Kaur expressed, the team started in Bombay for Semi-finals and they are targeting to nick the final game now. India started slow reaching 35 in the tenth over, while the top two wickets were already down. It was only Kaur’s knock that salvaged the team batting at number 4. The next highest runs being only 36 off Raj. There was almost no support down the line. But India team expressed the depth in its batting as well as its bowling in the match.
England now will have some reason to worry in the final fixture. The team is the former champion and for India, it is certainly a challenge. Apparently, India’s batting line need more intensity at this point. The bowling reached a substantial height with Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey and most importantly, Deepti Sharma, finding their forms back. The team just found a good backup for Rajeswari Gayakwad. Winning the final for India will be a grand landmark for Women Cricket in the country.
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