The scheduled start of the Women´s World Cup semi-final between Australia and India was delayed Thursday after heavy rain overnight and continued drizzle throughout the morning.
In one of the most spectacular innings in limited-overs cricket Harmanpreet Kaur sent India into the final of the World Cup with an unbeaten 171 from 115 balls, ousting Australia, the favourites and champions.
Even the unshackled Raj may not be enough to beat Australia, a team that has a 24-7 record against India during her career and have beaten them in seven of their last eight matches.
Meanwhile, Australia opener Nicole Bolton also cautioned her side against any sort of complacency when they face the Indians, who will be in a good frame, especially after the morale-boosting 186-run win against the New Zealanders in their final group encounter on the same ground.
“They had a left armer come in and take a five-for I think”. She surpassed Mithali’s high score of 109* runs to become the highest scorer for India in World Cup.
At 101/3, the 28-year-old Kaur was at her attacking best but needed someone to support her at the other end, as Deepti played the flawless second fiddle with her waiting game.
In came Kaur, who, along with captain Mithali Raj (36), steadied the innings with their 66-run stand for the third wicket – ended when leg-spinner Kristen Beams (1-49) bowled Raj. In only her eighth one-day game, she walked in with India tottering at 26 for 4 against England and went on to score 84. India has reached the semi-final of the tournament for the first time after 12-years.
Although, the Indian team has performed quite well throughout the tournament so far, the past is behind them now.
Harmanpreet Kaur took the Australian bowlers to the cleaners despite India losing Mandhana and Raut early on. “India must bat and put the scoreboard pressure on the opposition, provided they win the toss”.
Mithali lost her wicket at a vital stage in the 25th over of the match with 101 runs on the board. Indian skipper Mithali Raj is confident ahead of the clash and convinced that they can beat Australia, the brand of cricket they have played throughout the tournament has been distinctive.
But three overs later, Jhulan Goswami produced a similarly unplayable delivery, which too changed direction at the last minute, to leave Meg Lanning staring at her off stump in shambles.