Australia v India, Women's World Cup 2017, Bristol July 12, 2017

Spinners, Lanning power Australia into semi-final

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Australia 227 for 2 (Lanning 76*, Perry 60*, Mooney 45) beat India 226 for 7 (Raut 106, Raj 69, Perry 2-37, Schutt 2-52) by eight wicket
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Meg Lanning's half-century helped Australia make lightwork of a tricky target © Getty Images

Australia secured a semi-final berth as they overpowered India's 226 for 7 with consummate ease on a slow turner in Bristol. India's inability to bring to the fore their power-game at various stages during the course of the 157-run second-wicket stand between centurion Punam Raut and Mithali Raj, who became the leading run-getter in Women's ODIs, left them shortchanged. They will now have to beat New Zealand in their final group game on Sunday to make it through to the semi-final of an ICC event for the first time since 2010.

Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton added 62 for the first wicket in 15.4 overs to set Australia up. After Bolton bottom-edged a sweep off Poonam Yadav to Sushma Verma, the wicketkeeper, Meg Lanning dug in. Batting with a strapped shoulder, she displayed nimble footwork to negate India's spin troika of Ekta Bisht, Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav, to make 76 not out as Australia eased home with 29 balls to spare. She was complemented by the in-form Ellyse Perry, who finished with 60 not out, her fourth successive fifty to go with two wickets.

Where Australia's spinners wrested control - they combined to take 4 for 129 off 29 overs - partly due to India's diffidence with the bat, India's slower bowlers leaked a combined 183 in 34 overs. India's slow scoring was largely due to the inability of Raj to hit the ball off the square; she consumed 82 deliveries and limped past the 34 she needed to eclipse Charlotte Edwards' record.

Jess Jonassen and Kristen Beams used angles and flight to cut off scoring options for Raut and Raj. Their protection of the leg-side boundary kept teasing the batsmen to work against the turn, making it difficult to maneuver the ball over the off side.

Once the record was out of the way, Raj seemed a little more relaxed. The first sign of intent came three balls later as she waltzed down the pitch to hit a straight six to also become the first batsman in Women's ODIs to cross 6000 runs. By then, Punam was in her 50s. From time-to-time, she resorted to sweeping against the turn and bringing out the delicate paddles to keep the runs ticking. Off the pacers, she was particularly punishing towards Megan Schutt, who she shovelled and lap-swept to pick off boundaries.

Yet, at no stage did the pair give Australia any shivers. When Raj mistimed a lofted hit back to Beams in the 41st over, India had barely managed to cross the four-runs per over mark. Over the next six overs, Harmanpreet Kaur brought out the odd big hit to make a 22-ball 23, but Raut's wicket in the 47th led to a total breakdown. India lost four wickets for 16, with Deepti Sharma, their second-highest run-getter of the tournament, not coming out to bat until the final over.

Early in the chase, India kept things tight, conceding just 34 off the first 10. The situation was ripe for their spinners to mount a challenge. But Bisht's first over that went for three boundaries led to opening of the floodgates. Poonam Yadav looped the ball up, but by not landing it right on a surface where the turn was slow, gave the batsmen enough time to rock back and pull.

Lanning showed intent right from the time she walked out, lofting Yadav over her head for six off the fourth ball she faced. To compensate, the spinners resorted to bowling short and kept getting put away square of the wicket through cuts and sweeps. India didn't help matters by fielding as poorly as they did, runs regularly conceded by letting the ball through their legs at the boundary. All of this meant, the chase went cold at the halfway mark. For large parts of the last 15 overs, it seemed as if an extended net session was on, the sense of helplessness in India's ranks all too evident as what should've been a challenging chase turned into a cakewalk.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bertram Forbes on July 14, 2017, 0:10 GMT

    Jose P. Don't let the comparing bother you. I have not enjoyed cricket for a long time as I am enjoying the WICC. I was watching Sara Taylor bat the other day. And her approach so reminds me of Sewag, belligerent from the word go.

  • Ibneqa5374811 on July 13, 2017, 17:05 GMT

    All the criticism on Mithali reminds me of Misbah

  • Rajesh on July 13, 2017, 16:08 GMT

    It was a joke to see Mithali Raj (who has an avg. of 50 in ODIs) bat against Aus like she was living in the 1980s. Same is the case with Poonam Raut, the opener, who is even worse than Mithali.

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    The Indian ladies team is afflicted with many problems: poor fielding, poor running between the wickets, poor rotation of strikes, and poor body language too.

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    Exactly like it was in the 1980s!

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    For we Indians to take our Women team seriously they've to upgrade themselves in more ways than one.

  • Jose on July 13, 2017, 15:13 GMT

    I don't believe in comparing players from one era to another, let alone across the gender. Yet...

    Setting Mithali's captaincy aside...

    Somehow or the other Mithali reminds me of Sunil Gavsakar from the Indian side... And, Ellyse Perry, of Kieth Miller of Australia!

    I had been a huge admirer of both Sunny & Keith, watching them playing in our stadiums, closely; though at different stages in my life. Don't ask me, how? And,why? Such a compare?

    I can't help letting such a thought, creep into my mind, though it sounds a bit sacrilegious in my own mind.

    Jose...P

  • anil on July 13, 2017, 14:40 GMT

    Mithali should up the ante!! She cannot play like an amateur and feel world should her fans. India should have scored 250 and applied more pressure through proper spin. Mithali is like shades of Azhar. Who cares if we lose type. No be a Virat. And yes, be a Virat and don't say I do not want to be compared to Men cricketers. Win at all costs.

  • MehulG on July 13, 2017, 14:24 GMT

    If Ind Women team start playing positively, pile enough runs (easily more than 280 on an average), stop focusing on old tricks of playing with 4-5 spinners, prepare fast bowlers and attacking batsmen, openers be more consistent, Top 5 batsmen play with strike rate of 80+with couple of them carry a SR above 100 ---- Then IPL has a great chance of success in women's cricket as well - which will be good for women cricket as well as players. Women players can also earn good money, fame and glory and can live a professional life ahead like men's team. Only possible, if they stop living in their own self motive from Bedi and Gavaskar days, and play positive and attacking games.

  •   Raman Muthuswamy on July 13, 2017, 13:17 GMT

    Indian women are POOR MATCH to the Mighty Aussies !! Why Raj & Raut shd play the game as if it were a Test Match and that has exactly cost the game .. Will be a surprise if it wins over the NZ !!

  • crowsf7183701 on July 13, 2017, 12:49 GMT

    I think the reason Australia has such a strong women's team compared to other cricketing powerhouses like India, is money. Cricket Australia has put money into the women's game to help build a strong cricket base from which to pick the national team. If India invested more money into women's cricket they would become much more competitive. That said it wasn't long ago that the Indian mens team played like these women. Poor fielding and captaincy, no team approach to the batting innings, rather a group of batters all trying to make runs for themselves at their own pace, regardless of the match situation. I hope other cricket boards start to take women's cricket more seriously so that we can see Meg Lanning play against opposition worthy of her talent and commitment.

  •   Cricinfouser on July 13, 2017, 12:45 GMT

    With this attitude, India will not qualify for the semifinals.. Indian womens mainly depend on the defence play & lack of aggression in every department.. Aussies, England, New Zealand & South African Women teams slowly following Modern Era Aggression cricket & India are lacking in that... Those 4 teams will qualify for the semifinals.. If India qualifies for the semifinals, it is a bit of luck.. India was poor in Running between the wickets, fielding & aggression in batting

  • Tahaas2579658 on July 13, 2017, 12:45 GMT

    This Indian team cannot match aus and sa ,eng was just a fluke where as pak,sl,and Wi were weak opponents

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