GATE! Bhatia ran out Gardner/Healy 4 (India 28-3)
Oh dear. A horror mix between the two Indian teams. Bhatia hits a straight to short middleweight and decides to go for a single that was never on – Rodrigues doesn’t want it and Bhatia drives back in vain.
3rd over: India 25-2 (Rodrigues 10, Bhatia 4) An electric start from Jemimah Rodrigues, who pulls Gardner for four before driving his next ball through cover for another boundary. Then there’s a sweep for a couple to make it a bittersweet over.
GATE! Mandhana lbw Gardner 2 (India 15-2)
Australia go up for an lbw shout and decide to review… and it’s looking very good! Mandhana is caught on the crease by Gardner’s off-spin, the ball hits the pad before the bat. India is in big trouble.
2nd over: India 15-1 (Mandhana 2, Bhatia 4) Yastika Bhatia is the new batter in and she picks up an early boundary to get going.
GATE! Verma lbw Schutt 9 (India 11-1)
The finger goes up! Schutt catches Verma at the crease and India go up for a review. The ball is angled – is the leg stump missing? Ooooh, just cut and Verma is on his way.
1st over: India 10-0 (Mandhana 9, Verma 1) Gardner’s off-spin opens up Australia and Verma hits her for two before a single puts Mandhana on strike. A clip to the leg side for one gets the left-hander going before Verma whips away for a couple. And then the big shot: Verma sweeps hard for four and India are off to a good start.
Newlands looks beautiful – but plenty of empty seats there too.
India need 173 to win
Beth Mooney says Australia are pretty happy with that total – so they should be. They have decent runs on the board in a World Cup semi-final, and they really picked things up at the end, taking 30 off the last two overs. Mooney top-scored with 54, Lanning finished on 49 but Gardner was particularly exceptional, upping the ante with 31 off 18 balls.
20th over: Australia 172-4 (Lanning 49, Perry 2) A six to kick off! Renuka drops a full toss and Lanning hits the ball high and over the rope in deep back field. A boundary follows when Lanning is lucky, an attempt to hit that results in an edge that flies between her legs towards fine leg. Renuka recovers well but it’s another full toss that ends the innings and Lanning removes it for a six. The final rise sees Australia finish on 172-4, with Lanning unbeaten on 49.
19th over: Australia 154-4 (Lanning 33, Perry 1) Lanning sees the slower ball well and swings back to cut Pandey for four.
GATE! Harris b Pandey 7 (Australia 148-3)
Grace Harris whips Pandey through midwicket for four to open the over – cracking power on that stroke. She then tries to push one through the guards, but can only grab a couple. And then a wicket! It’s a slower ball from Pandey, and Harris’ sweep can’t stop the ball from rattling the stumps.
GATE! Gardner b Deepti 31 (Australia 141-3)
Deepti manages to limit the damage before ending Gardner’s innings once and for all – it’s a yorker that does the job and rattles the stumps.
18th over: Australia 142-3 (Harris 1, Lanning 28)
17th over: Australia 137-2 (Gardner 30, Lanning 25) Boundaries flow for Gardner: a whip from the pads is followed by a successful run. It’s a bit of a mix-up when you run between the two batters but they are eventually safe. Little goes India’s way.
16th over: Australia 126-2 (Gardner 20, Lanning 24) Gardner shovels to the off-side to open the leg and sweeps Radha to the square rope for four. The next shot is even better as she drives to the left of long-off for four. A top from Gardner’s bat lands safely.
15th over: Australia 113-2 (Lanning 23, Gardner 8) And here comes the sound. Lanning goes down to sweep Rana behind square on the leg side for four. A single gets Gardner to strike and she grabs Rana’s straight line and flicks the ball away to fine leg for another boundary. The over closes with Lanning swinging back for a cut through the off side for four more. It’s the big thing Australia has been waiting for.
14th over: Australia 99-2 (Lanning 14, Gardner 3) Radha races through her, with Gardner and Lanning batting around to pick up five from it. Things have quieted down a bit since Mooney left.
13th over: Australia 94-2 (Lanning 10, Gardner 2) Rana pitches the ball up but the cover fails to penetrate the off-side ring. A cut makes two before Lanning fails to connect on a drive; Ghosh doesn’t get a clean collection of the ball and only manages to bring down the stumps after Lanning recovers to come back into his crease. Rana, by the way, bowls nicely here, gets some sharp turns and bounces.
GATE! Mooney c Verma b Pandey 54 (Australia 88-2)
Just as she started wreaking havoc, Mooney Pandey cuts straight to Shafali Verma. An exuberant celebration ensues from the fielder, who had dropped Mooney earlier in the piece.
12th over: Australia 89-2 (Gardner 1, Lanning 7)
Fifty for Beth Mooney!
And what a chance to pick it up: Mooney drops the ramp to send the fuller delivery from Pandey over the keeper’s head for four.
11th over: Australia 78-1 (Mooney 44, Lanning 7) Mooney, fresh from his suspension, gives Rana four in the offside. Five singles accompany the boundary to make it another good over for Australia.
Kev McMahon messages in: “I admit I haven’t followed Australia’s progress until this game, but I do remember Alana King being a fantastic spinner. Do you have any thoughts on why she has been rejected for this game?”
She has gone wicketless so far in the tournament, and Australia’s strength in depth means they can afford to leave her out and bring in Jonassen, who has a pretty good CV himself.
10th over: Australia 69-1 (Mooney 37, Lanning 5) Radha sends in a full toss and Mooney smacks the ball over the line to find the gap between long-on and midwicket for four. And then Mooney is dropped! This really should have been taken – It was smashed down the ground, straight to Shafali Verma at long-on who put it down and saw it trickle away for another boundary. A massive concession.
9th over: Australia 59-1 (Lanning 4, Mooney 28) Sneh Rana gets a chance, and… Lanning is shut down! It’s a beautiful line from the off-spinner, giving Australia’s captain no room, and a back-foot strike results in a thick edge that Ghosh can’t hold onto behind the stumps. It was a very tough chance. A front foot no-ball follows, resulting in a free kick which Lanning hits straight into the hands of short midfield.
GATE! Healy st Ghosh b Yadav 25 (Australia 52-1)
Radha’s left spin is called for and she is too short with her first delivery – Mooney rocks back and cuts effortlessly for four. It’s fifty partnership up… but it’s over now! Healy comes down the ground, misses the ball with a wild chop, and Richa Ghosh topples the stumps.
8th over: Australia 54-1 (Mooney 27, Lanning 1)
7th over: Australia 47-0 (Mooney 21, Healy 25) Mooney tries to get on course and moves down the ground before unleashing a flashing cut off Pandey – but she can’t beat the mark. A single follows before Healy has to show Pandey some respect with a forward defence. Then comes a dance down the court from the right hander, but she doesn’t get it from the middle and only manages a single. It’s been a solid if not explosive start from the kick off.
6th over: Australia 43-0 (Healy 23, Mooney 19) India go up the ladder after Healy fails to make the desired contact with a sweep. But she’s sure after replays show there was a bit of a glove on it. Healy then picks up three before Mooney hits the first six of the day and hits Deepti over long-off: she saw some air, got her feet moving and nailed the swing of the bat. Lovely stuff.
5th over: Australia 31-0 (Mooney 10, Healy 20) Pandey is in the attack and she serves one on Mooney’s pads – the clip through the leg side is beautifully timed but Jemimah Rodrigues does well with a diving stop at deep midwicket to stop the boundary.
4th over: Australia 26-0 (Healy 19, Mooney 7) Way too short from Deepti and Healy comes down the pitch to hit the ball through the off side for four. Harmanpreet comes over to talk to his off-spinner but Deepti is too wide again with her second delivery – Healy can only hit straight though. The batter fails with a reverse sweep before Deepti finally finds the right line and tests Healy with a straighter, slacker delivery. Ian Bishop, on communications, agrees. Healy strikes before another dot follows.
3rd over: Australia 21-0 (Healy 14, Mooney 7) Healy shows some Serious Intent for the first time today, advances to Renuka’s first over and hits it over mid-four.
2nd over: Australia 14-0 (Healy 8, Mooney 6) Deepti Sharma’s twirlers are on from the other end. After Healy and Mooney go over for four singles on the bounce, the left-hander manages to cut late behind square for four.
1st over: Australia 6-0 (Mooney 0, Healy 6) Renuka is a little too wide and stuffed with his first delivery and Healy carves it delightfully through point for four. After three dots, she clamps down on the leg side for a couple more. A dot follows to make it a neat recovery from the seamer after a loose opening ball.
Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney are out in the middle. Renuka has the new ball. Let’s go!
Approaching, with the hymns about to begin. Here’s some optimism for the India fans out there.
Australia win the toss and elect to bat first
Two changes for Australia: Jess Jonassen comes in for Alana King, Alyssa Healy replaces Annabel Sutherland.
A blow for India, who have had Pooja Vastrakar ruled out due to an upper respiratory infection.
You have to go back to 2009 to find the last time Australia didn’t do it reach the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup. They have since won five out of six finals, their most recent victory being a historic victory at the MCG where more than 86,000 took it all in. Then they have the 50-over World Cup they won last year, and the gold they took at the Commonwealth Games last summer. They have won four out of four in this tournament as well. Basically this is what I am trying to say: India is against it.
Here’s what they can hold on to. They have defeated the Australians at the last two T20 World Cups, and they ran them close in the Commonwealth Games final, losing by just nine runs. Smriti Mandhana has good headers, and Renuka Singh got five against England. They have the tools for an upset, now they just have to pull it off.
Whatever happens, it will be fun. Join me for the next few hours to get to this World Cup semi-final and feel free to send an email/picture to my Twitter DMs.