India’s shoddy fielding allowed Australia to post a challenging 172 for four in the first semi-final of the Women’s T20 World Cup here on Thursday.
The bowling effort also left a lot be desired as Beth Mooney extended her envious record against India with a classy 54 off 37 balls.
One of the best power hitters in the game, Ashleigh Gardner, hurt India with 31 off 18 balls while skipper Meg Lanning made 49 not out off 34 balls.
Australia opted to bat at a sunny Newlands and India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who chose to play the knock-out game a day after suffering from high fever, did not seem to mind Lanning’s call.
There was no swing on offer, making life a lot difficult for star pacer Renuka Thakur, whose first ball of the game was a half volley to Alyssa Healy (25 off 26) and she duly put it away.
Healy is usually the aggressor in her opening partnerships with Mooney but it wasn’t the case on this occasion. It was Mooney who got the boundaries more regularly in their 52-run stand as she manoeuvred the field beautifully with her nimble footwork against the spinners. Shafali Verma dropped a regulation catch off Mooney at long on when she was on 32.
Deepti Sharma, India’s most consistent spinner in the tournament, bowled too short in her opening spell. Her second over went for 12 runs as Mooney stepped out for a six over wide long off.
Besides the inconsistent line and length, poor fielding and catching cost India a lot of runs.
Lanning, who was dropped early in her innings, made India pay with an unbeaten 49 off 34 balls. She collected two sixes and a four in the 20th over bowled by Renuka, who went wicketless in her four overs and conceded 41 runs.
Sneh Rana, playing in place of Pooja Vastrakar, was unfortunate not pick any wicket as she troubled the batters with her flight. She could have had Lanning caught behind in her first over but wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh dropped the chance. Richa also fluffed a stumping chance of Lanning.
The last five overs yielded 59 runs for Australia.