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Cricket World Cup: Inspired India Down the Aussies

India won by 36 runs

India - 281/4(Harmanpreeth 171; Villaini 1-19) 
Australia - 245 (Villaini 75, Blackwell 90; Goswami 2-26)

Mithali Raj's troops aced the defending champions with a sumptuous performance to enter the finals of the World Cup 2017.

Rain delayed the start of the 2nd semi-final and by the time the weather cleared, the match had to be reduced to 42 overs per side.

Harmanpreeth Kaur produced the innings of a lifetime to help India to a huge total of 281/4 in 42 overs. Opting to bat, India made a mediocre start, losing both their openers in the powerplay. Captain Mithali Raj and Harmanpreeth then stabilised the innings with a 66-run partnership. Mithali was castled by leggie Beams in the 25th over and at that stage, it looked like India would struggle to reach the 200-mark. However, Harmanpreeth took the game by the scruff of the neck and shocked the Aussies. She reached her century by pushing her reluctant partner for a double after dabbing the ball to midwicket. Her focus was evident as she was fuming at Deepti Sharma for the lackadaisical running and forgot to celebrate her century. She cut loose with six overs to go, scoring 23 runs off the 37th over from Garder, Australia's best bowler till that point. Her innings was adorned with 7 sixes and 20 boundaries and her onslaught (103 runs in her last 40 balls) propelled India to the massive total.

The Indian bowling unit was charged up for the 2nd innings and were exceptional in the first ten overs. Shika Pandey removed Mooney with a superb late swinger and Jhulan Goswami opened up Meg Lanning with an outswinger and pegged the offstump back. Ellyse Perry & Villani displayed grit and kept the champions in the chase with an effective partnership. With the target still 155 runs away, Mandhana's smart catch at mid-on broke the stand and thus the Aussie resistance. India chipped away at the lower order and Aussies were reduced to 169/9. There was still some fight left in the tank as Alex Blackwell counter attacked with vigour and raced to a half century. Her assured innings had the Indians worried but Deepti Sharma bowled Blackwell in the penultimate over to seal the win.

India face hosts England in the final at Lords on Sunday.


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