Australia march into final
Australia 132 for 1 (Haynes 71*) beat Sri Lanka 131 (Rasangika 43, Osborne 3-9) by nine wickets
Australia entered the Women's World Cup final with their fifth successive win in the tournament, completing a nine-wicket demolition of Sri Lanka with 27.4 overs to spare. Jodie Fields asked Sri Lanka to bat in the morning, and set attacking fields for her bowlers throughout. All six bowlers responded with wickets, the offspinner Erin Osborne returning remarkable figures of 10-6-9-3 after seamer Julie Hunter's 6-3-6-1. Australia's batting, which has been a source of concern, had little trouble getting to the target of 132, with the openers Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning drowning Sri Lanka's remaining hopes in a flood of boundaries.
An hour into their innings, Sri Lanka were in trouble at 41 for 4 and it had it not been for a face-saving stand between Deepika Rasangika and Dilani Manodara, they would have struggled to get to 100. Fields did not let them get too far beyond that mark. The Australia captain was relentless in her pursuit of wickets, crowding the inner circle with fielders through the innings. One of the few times she had the maximum permissible four fielders in the deep was when the hard-hitting Eshani Kaushalya came in. The pressure of trying to beat the infield led to the regular fall of Sri Lanka wickets. This despite Australia's lead seamer Ellyse Perry missing her second successive game, this time with an ankle injury.
Megan Schutt did not need any help from her fielders in getting the opening breakthrough. Yasoda Mendis pushed tentatively at an incoming delivery and was bowled through the gate. Chamari Atapattu tried to go hard over mid-off but chose a slower one to do that, and could not clear the field. Holly Ferling, the 17-year old quick, struck in her opening spell again, sending back Sri Lanka captain Shashikala Siriwardene who nudged one down leg to the wicketkeeper Fields.
The Australian captain kept the field up after the opening Powerplay, and also left cover vacant to invite the drive against the offspin of Lisa Sthalekar. Sandamali Dolawatte went for the stroke to a flighted one, and a delighted Fields snapped up the edge. There was turn and bounce for the spinners but Surangika responded the way she had played against India. She lofted the seamers down the ground, swatted them through extra cover and also cut hard. Batting with a cap on, she even hooked the pacy Ferling to the deep square leg rope.
Rasangika was put down by Sarah Coyte off her own bowling on 22, but Australia restricted the partnership to 49 as Schutt had the batsman caught on 43 at short extra cover with the fifth ball of her second spell in the 31st over. Manodara, who had edged Coyte twice past the slips for four, fell in the next over as she tried to hit Osborne over mid-on, Schutt backpedalling to take a well-judged catch.
Kaushalya, who had shocked England and India with her powerful hits, did not hang around for too long. She slog-swept her fourth delivery from Osborne and Alex Blackwell took a low catch diving forward at midwicket. After some resistance from the tail, Sri Lanka were all out for 131.
Australia's opening pair rendered the game even more one-sided as they added 55 in under 10 overs. Lanning played out a maiden first up to Udeshika Prabodhani, and was on 1 off 14 before she cut loose. Drives, pulls, cuts, and a straight six appeared in no time as she raced to 37 off 36 before cutting one to slip.
Haynes took over, piercing the off-side field with numerous drives as Sri Lanka's fielding fell apart. She hit a couple over the advertising boards at long-on for six before bringing up the win with another cover drive for four. She was on 71 off just 61 by then, and Australia were in their seventh World Cup final in nine attempts.
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo