Australia Women won by 5 runs
Mooney, Lanning, Gardner, Brown, Jonassen put in crucial contributions as India fall just short
Keeping up with the blockbuster tag, Australia beat India by five runs in a thrilling encounter in Newlands to make the final of the Women's T20 World Cup. Captain Meg Lanning called the victory "one of the best" she has been involved in as Australia made the final of the T20 World Cup for the seventh time in succession.
Australia have reached a seventh successive T20 World Cup final but not without an almighty fight from India, who came five runs short in a thrilling semi-final in Cape Town. The margin of defeat is four runs smaller than it was at the Commonwealth Games final last year, but that will be little consolation for India, who came agonisingly close while chasing 173.
They were clumsy in the field, conceded at least 15 runs through overthrows and misfields and dropped two crucial catches - of Meg Lanning on 1 and Beth Mooney on 32 - and were equally nervy between the wickets. Two crucial run-outs dented their chase including that of Harmanpreet Kaur, which led to India's slide.
The India captain was ill on the eve of the match and briefly hospitalised with a fever but fronted up to lead her side and almost took them home. After a poor start which left India on 28 for 3 in the fourth over, Harmanpreet shared in a 69-run fourth-wicket stand with Jemimah Rodrigues and then brought up her first fifty of the tournament. She had barely celebrated it when her bat got stuck in the ground while sliding it for a second run and Alyssa Healy was quick to break the stumps, leaving India's middle and lower order to get 40 runs off the last 32 balls.
Ash Gardner | Player of the Match: Bowling the last over, my average heart-rate is probably like 190. That just shows the way we fight as a team, and that's what we kind of spoke about in the huddle right at the end. We probably weren't in a winning position and that's when this team does best. When our backs are up against the wall, we find a way and we scrap really hard and that's what we did today with the ball. I think we set up the game really well with the bat, probably missed a few with the ball but I think that fight we showed shows the character of this team. (Meg was telling me to) just be really clear with what I want to execute, we obviously know that they have handy batters all the way down, so it's about being clear on what you want to do and not give any freebies. I was just trying to hit the wicket and keep the stumps in play as often as possible. Always nice spending time in the middle, spending time with Meg as well. She is always calm and keeps it simple out there. I felt with the confidence coming into this game after the couple of innings I have had throughout this World Cup, I guess I gotta take that confidence into the next game and then hopefully win in the final.
Lanning: One of the best wins I have been involved in. To fightback from well behind and win despite not playing our best cricket. Great fighting spirit from the girls, couldn't be more proud of them. We missed out lengths and gave width at tims. India came hard at us and they have got some incredible players. Came right down to the wire and we had to seize those clutch moments. Certainly holds us in good stead for the final. We stayed in the game and that's what you got to do under pressure. We didn't execute as well as we would have liked, but we never panicked. Can't wait to be out here on Sunday.
Harmanpreet: Can't be unluckier than this, to get that momentum back when me and Jemi were batting. And to lose after that, we didn't expect this today. The way I got runout, can't be unluckier than that. Putting in the effort was more important. We discussed about fighting till the last ball. The result didn't go our way, but I am happy with the way we played in this tournament. We know we have a good batting line up even if we lose early wickets. Need to give credit to Jemi for the way she batted today. She got us the momentum we were looking for. Happy to see such performances. Happy to see them play their natural game. We even though we didn't play to our strengths, we reached the semis. We gave those easy catches away. Got to take those when you want to win. We misfielded. We can only learn from these lessons and not repeat the mistakes.