Indian women go down meekly

Batting proves a big letdown as Australia win with plenty to spare

Indian women go down meekly

Poonam Raut... Gritty knockChasing India’s modest 119 for five, Australia scored 123 for three to register a comprehensive seven-wicket win as skipper Alex Blackwell led from the front with a career-best 61 (49b, 8x4). In Sunday’s final in Barbados, Australia, the losing semifinalists in the inaugural edition last year in England, will meet the winners of the other semifinal between the West Indies and New Zealand.

After putting up a below-par total, India might have fancied their chances when skipper Jhulan Goswmi bowled opener Elyse Villani with the fourth ball of the innings, but as it transpired, it was only a temporary blip in the Aussie chase. Australia made their intentions clear when the other opener Shelly Nitschke hit left-arm spinner Gouher Sultana for two fours in the second over before Blackwell exploded in style, punishing Priyanka Roy for 15 runs, including three consecutive fours, in the fourth over.

Inexplicably, the leg-spinner offered absolute dollies to the right-hander, sending down four full-tosses of which three were dispatched to the fence. It was the right momentum Australia needed and they never looked back after that.

“Our spinners had an off-day today. They have been doing really well till now, but unfortunately for us, they couldn’t do much today,” rued Goswami.

Having put up an impressive 40 for one in the Power Play, Blackwell and Nitschke raised 74 for the second wicket to ensure there were no major hiccups. Blackwell’s innings came to an end when she was stumped by Sulakshana Naik off Roy, but by then it was all but over for the Indians. After Blackwell’s exit, Leah Poulton struck 30 off 26 to see her team home. If their men’s team too make it to the final, it will be double delight for the Australians.

“It would be amazing,” said Blackwell, looking ahead to both Aussie sides getting to the final. “It would be a first to have teams from the same country winning both the titles.”
Opting to bat first, India didn’t have the desired start when Naik was dismissed off the third ball of the day. Off-spinner Lisa Sthalekar then accounted for Mithali Raj to deal a major blow. Poonam Raut played the anchor role (44, 51b, 3x4) but her inability to score during the field restrictions came back to haunt India. Harmanpreet Kaur provided some impetus to the innings with a 27-ball 24.

SCOREBOARD

INDIA
S Naik c Cameron b Farrel    2
(3b)
P Raut c Cameron b Perry    44
(51b, 3x4)
Mithali st Healy b Sthalekar    16
(18b, 2x4)
H Kaur (run out)    24
(27b, 2x4)
J Goswami (run out)    0
(1b)
A Sharma (not out)    17
(11b, 1x6)
R Dhar (not out)    12
(9b)
Extras (LB-2, W-2)    4
Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs)    119

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Naik), 2-31 (Mithali), 3-88 (Kaur), 4-89 (Goswami), 5-89 (Raut). 
Bowling: R Farrell 4-0-22-1, C Smith 4-0-25-0, E Perry 4-0-19-1, L Sthalekar 4-0-25-1, S Nitschke 4-0-26-0 (w-2). 

Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 23/1. 

AUSTRALIA
S Nitschke c Dhar b Roy    22
(25b, 3x4)
E Villani b Goswami    0
(2b)
A Blackwell st Naik b Roy    61
(49b, 8x4)
L Poulton (not out)    30
(26b, 2x4)
J Cameron (not out)    6
(11b)
Extras (LB-1, W-3)    4
Total (for 3 wkts, 18.5 overs)    123

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Villani), 2-75 (Nitschke), 3-103 (Blackwell). 

Bowling: J Goswami 3-0-19-1, G Sultana 3.5-0-28-0, P Roy 4-0-27-2, R Dhar 2-0-12-0 (w-1), D David 4-0-15-0, A Sharma 1-0-11-0, R Malhotra 1-0-10-0 (w-2).
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 40/1.

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