India beat Australia by 36 runs to book their place in the ICC Women’s World Cup final on Thursday. Alex Blackwell (90) gave India a scare as she played a brilliant innings and brought up her 24th ODI fifty at the dying stages of the Australian innings but it was all too late for the six time World Champions. At the end, Australia were bowled out for 245. Opting to bat first, India got off to a poor start. After losing Smriti Mandhana (6) and Punam Raut (14) early, captain Mithali Raj (36) and Harmanpreet Kaur stitched together a 66-run stand for the third wicket and built a solid base. Harmanpreet’s (171*) stunning display of power towards the end of the innings helped India post a mammoth total of 281 for 4 against Australia. During her innings, the right-handed batter slammed 21 boundaries and seven maximums.
Australia lost three quick wickets in the run chase as India struck early with the ball. Shikha Pandey removed Beth Mooney in her first over as Jhulan Goswami bowled a beauty to get rid of the Australian captain Meg Lanning. Elyse Villani (75) and Ellyse Perry (38) put on a century-run stand to bring Australia back in the run chase but once Rajeshwari Gayakwad got rid of Villani, Australia collapsed without much resistance coming from the lower-order apart from Blackwell. For India, Deepti Sharma was the pick of the bowlers who returned with figures of 3 for 59 as Goswami and Pandey gave her good support by picking up a couple of wickets each.