ICC Women's World Cup: Australia continue unbeaten run, secure semifinal berth

Meg Lanning
Australian captain Meg Lanning led from the front. Photo: AFP/David Rowland

Auckland: Australia made light work of the highest chase in Women's ODI World Cup history to beat an erring India by six wickets and seal a place in the semifinals here on Saturday.

Half-centuries from skipper Mithali Raj (68 off 96, Yastika Bhatia (59 off 83) and Harmanpreet Kaur (57 not out off 47) steered India to 277/7.

But the Meg Lanning-led side cruised to its fifth win in as many games.

Openers Alyssa Healy (72 off 65) and Rachael Haynes (43 off 52) got Australia off to a flier with a 121-run stand before skipper Lanning (97 off 107) took the team to the verge of victory.

Jhulan Goswami needed to defend eight off the final over but Beth Mooney (30 not out of 20) got the job done in the first three balls.

The path to semifinals has become tougher for India after their third loss in five games. The 2017 edition runners-up play their remaining games against South Africa and Bangladesh.

If batting was a concern for India before the game, Australia getting to a stiff target with ease has given the bowlers plenty to ponder over.

Healy was the aggressor alongside the in-form Haynes and toyed with the Indian attack -- be it pacers or spinners.

The likes of Jhulan and Meghna Singh were either too full or too short early on and Healy was quick to punish them with a flurry of cover drives, cut shots and pulls.

When India's best spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad came into the attack, Alyssa used the sweep shot brilliantly to put more pressure on the opposition. India playing a bowler less in the absence of Deepti Sharma also did not help their cause.

With Australia marching to victory at 225/2, a passing shower stopped proceedings at Eden Park but play resumed shortly and Australia completed the job with little fuss.

Harmanpreet Kaur
Harmanpreet Kaur in action against Australia. Photo: AFP/David Rowland

Earlier, Mithali and Yastika steadied the Indian innings with a 130-run stand for the third wicket after Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma fell cheaply.

With India slipping to 213 for six from 158 for two, Harmanpreet came up with a much-needed counter attack to take the team well past 250. Pooja Vastrakar once again provided the late flourish with 34 off 28 balls.

Pooja and Harmanpreet blasted 64 runs off 47 balls in their seventh wicket stand with India picking 52 runs in the last five overs.

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