Defending champions Australia dared to reach the T20 World Cup final after a five-round victory over India that had to grieve over the costly expulsions of Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues in their chase.

Another half century from Beth Mooney and fireworks from Meg Lanning and Ashleigh Gardner ensured India 173 won in Cape Town.

It looked unlikely when they were cut down to 28 in three, but Rodrigues and captain Kaur led the fight with 43 and 52 respectively to throw their wickets at key moments to ensure Australia progressed to the seventh consecutive T20 World Cup final after India. made 167 out of eight.

On Sunday they will face the winners of tomorrow’s England v South Africa semi-final.

Mooney helped Australia get off to a strong start after winning the coin toss, scoring 52 points on first base with Alyssa Healy and picking the first inning.

Healy’s departure brought Lanning into a crease, and the captain put his foot on the accelerator.

India’s sloppiness on the pitch saw Lanning and Mooney meet their lives before being ejected from the game for 54 fines out of 37 balls in the Australian opener.

Gardner took the stick with five bounds in an impressive 31-point 18-ball hit to help the reigning champions beat 172 in fours, despite the best efforts of Shikha Pandey, who claimed two wickets for 32 runs.

Lanning finished Australia’s innings with two lustful kicks to six and finished in 49, which would be crucial later on, but only after India got off to a bad start in their chase.

Smriti Mandhana, recently signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for around £340,000, went cheap with opening mate Shafali Verma.

When Yastika Bhatia finished four points, India was in the tightrope but Rodrigues was not about to give up.

Rodrigues blitz to 43 before giving Healy his wicket from Darcie Brown bowling with an uppercut from behind.

India was still at the top of its run rate as captain Kaur appeared to be in good contact, but also had a disappointing finish.

Shortly after raising two quads in a row for half a century, Kaur suffered an unfortunate fate after his stick caught in the goal while trying to finish a second run after finding the deep middle goal.

At 133 out of five, India failed to recover, and Brown hit the perfect 18-two before Gardner ended the trials by two wickets as their rivals fell short.