West Indies hold their nerve for final spot
West Indies 164 (Dottin 60, Ferling 3-27, Schutt 3-50) beat Australia 156 (Blackwell 45, Daley 3-22) by eight runs
A spirited West Indies stormed into their first World Cup final with a massive win over five-time champions Australia in their last Super Six match at the MIG Ground in Mumbai. The margin of victory - eight runs - was not massive but the result put defending champions England and last edition's runners-up New Zealand out of contention for a place in the final. The win is also West Indies' first against Australia, who had been unbeaten in this World Cup.
Defending 164, the odds were against West Indies as Australia were comfortably placed at 130 for 4 and needed 35 runs from more than 11 overs. But three quick wickets, of Alex Blackwell, Jodie Fields and Julie Hunter, in the space of 14 balls turned the match on its head. West Indies, led by Shanel Daley and Stafanie Taylor, lifted their bowling and fielding, taking the last six wickets, which included three run-outs, for 26 runs.
It looked like Australia would cruise to victory when Blackwell and Fields had stabilised the innings from 89 for 4. West Indies had not given up and once Blackwell was given lbw in Taylor's third spell, they went for the kill. Five balls later, in the last Powerplay over, Fields took the risk of going over mid-off but handed an easy catch to Juliana Nero. And before the new batsman, Julie Hunter, could get a grasp of the situation, she was run out by an accurate throw from Anisa Mohammed.
With 34 to win off nine overs, Daley had an over left and Taylor had two. Aguilleira decided to go with Taylor and she targeted the inexperienced Renee Chappell, who fell to another lbw decision. Erin Osborne scored two consecutive boundaries and brought the equation to 14 from 22. A misfield in the next over gave her four more runs and Australia a chance to breathe. However, if bowling was not working, West Indies did it with their fielding. Confusion between Osborne and Megan Schutt and another accurate throw reduced Australia to 156 for 9. Now Daley had the ball and when Osborne tried to scoop her over the keeper, it took an edge and ballooned into Aguillera's gloves to seal the victory for West Indies.
What followed were scenes and steps the West Indies players would not have rehearsed for. It was the longest walk back for Osborne and Ferling, and the West Indies players were sprinting all over the ground in the sun.
When West Indies had chosen to bat, Australia's pace attack didn't let them breathe much. The opening bowlers had been effective in every match; the highest opening partnership against them being 11 and West Indies were not treated differently. Their first wicket fell on 17. While Julie Hunter kept the run rate in check with her precision, Schutt struck twice in her first spell from the other end when she had Juliana Nero edging to the wicketkeeper and trapped Shemaine Campbelle lbw for a duck. Natasha McLean, meanwhile, found boundaries through the covers.
There was no sign of Taylor until then as Kyshona Knight joined McLean and Australia replied with their first bowling change, introducing Holly Ferling. She trapped McLean, who had done the bulk of the scoring, in her first over - a maiden. Taylor came in at No. 5 but Ferling's fiery spell had just begun. She struck twice in three overs and was dominating with her pace and bounce. Ferling and Schutt made sure only one West Indies batsman out of their top six scored in double digits.
West Indies were reeling at 59 for 5 in the 19th over and their only hope of putting up a respectable score was Deandra Dottin. At No. 7, she did not seem perturbed by the fall of wickets, unleashing three boundaries in her first five balls to ease the nerves a little bit.
Lisa Sthalekar took the next wicket, of Aguilleira, who had supported Dottin in a 27-run partnership. Schutt returned for her second spell and struck with the wicket of Shanel Daley, who played-on to her second ball.
The fall of wickets was halted by Dottin and 17-year old Shaquana Quintyne. While Dottin kept the score ticking, Quintyne made sure she rotated the strike and did not play any reckless shots. Dottin's two fours through the off-side in the 29th over brought up the team's hundred, and she soon brought up her 50 from 54 balls.
When the Powerplay started in the 36th over, all eyes were on Dottin. After a powerful four off the first ball she faced, she came down the track to Osborne, missed the ball completely and was bowled. Australia would have restricted West Indies to under 150 had it not been for Quintyne and Anisa Mohammed, and the 15 wides bowled conceded. Tremayne Smartt struck two boundaries at the end before she was caught at point, which ended the West Indies innings.
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo