India leave the field after the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup match between India and Australia at Eden Park on March 19, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
A classy 97 by Meg Lanning confirmed unbeaten Australia’s place in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals as a record run chase saw them to victory over India on Saturday (19).
In a match that went down to the wire in Auckland, title favourites Australia reached 280-4 to overtake India’s 277-7 with three balls to spare.
The previous best successful run chase in a Women’s World Cup match was 258-2 set by Australia against Sri Lanka at Bristol in 2017.
Australian captain Lanning guided the innings with her player-of-the-match performance and said she feels she is coming into form after scores of five and nought in her previous two games.
“It was nice to contribute. I was disappointed after the last couple of games,” she said.
“It was a belter of a wicket, it came on really nicely, there wasn’t a lot of turn and any width given was really hard to defend.
“So, yeah, we’ll take the win today, but understand we’ve got a bit to work on.”
Australia have a superior run-rate over the only other unbeaten side, South Africa. The two meet in a much-anticipated showdown in Wellington on Tuesday (22).
The other three places in the last four of the tournament are still up for grabs although South Africa seem sure to go through.
India, sent into bat by Australia, believed they had set a competitive target after Mithali Raj, Yastika Bhatia and Harmanpreet Kaur all scored half-centuries.
But Australia were undaunted and received a rollicking start from Rachel Haynes and Alyssa Healy, who together raced to 121 at better than six an over before Healy was out for 72.
Haynes, the tournament’s leading run-scorer, went in the following over when she edged a short-pitched delivery from Pooja Vastrakar to wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh.
Lanning, with Elysse Perry for support, punished the Indian bowlers and the pair put on 103, of which Perry contributed 28.
Australia needed eight to win off the final over and Beth Mooney, who had replaced Perry, went four, two, four, to seal the match.
India, after being rocked by two early wickets, were rescued by Raj and Bhatia, who turned the innings around with a 130-run stand for the third wicket. Harmanpreet Kaur and Vastrakar added a further 64 at the close.
The Indian total was also boosted by 29 extras including a phenomenal 24 wides, of which 10 came in Perry’s opening over.