India ride to tight victory and finish third
India 7 for 145 (Naik 28, Sthalekar 3-27) beat Australia 142 (Rolton 52)
by 3 wickets by D/L method
India beat Australia for the second time in the tournament to take third place and relegate the highly fancied hosts to a disappointing fourth. Australia struggled to 142 in their first innings at Bankstown Oval, but fought back to have India 7 for 104 before failing to shut down the innings.
The captain Jhulan Goswami and Rumeli Dhar showed no nerves in the tense finish to register the success with 13 balls to spare. They needed 16 from the final four overs in the batting Powerplay and made it with Goswami's boundary to midwicket off Ellyse Perry. Goswami finished with 18 while Dhar collected 24 off 27 deliveries.
Australia struck twice through Erin Osborne, who bowled the opener Anjum Chopra for 15 and then trapped Anagha Deshpande for 18, but India kept moving forward and were cruising at 2 for 72. However, Lisa Sthalekar (3 for 27) stepped in to have Mithali Raj (15) stumped and quickly picked up another key breakthrough when Sulakshana Naik was caught slogging to deep midwicket on 28.
More trouble came as Sthalekar removed Thirush Kamini caught behind, and Perry chipped in with two wickets before the stunning Goswami-Dhar revival. India were responsible for knocking Australia out of contention for the World Cup final with their victory in the Super Six stage last Saturday and the repeat performance ensured they ended the event on a high.
Australia struggled for most of the match and started poorly, dropping to 2 for 8 after losing both openers. Their innings was interrupted in the 14th over by a lengthy rain delay that chopped the match to 46 overs a side and they lost key wickets after the break. Alex Blackwell (19), Jodie Fields (6) and Jess Cameron (7) departed in quick time as Australia slumped to 5 for 63 before a couple of senior players mounted a rescue.
Captain Karen Rolton and Sthalekar dragged Australia ahead with a 60-run stand, with Rolton striking 52 from 93 balls and Sthalekar picking up 30. The slow outfield contributed to Rolton finding only one four, but she did clear the boundary with a drive to long-on off Gouher Sultana.
Australia's hopes lifted while the pair was at the crease, but they both fell in the same over from Priyanka Roy and could not recover. Rolton hit to midwicket before Sthalekar was caught behind and Perry was soon run-out for 2.
The innings ended when Goswami, who started the day by bowling Leah Poulton with the fourth ball, hit the off stump of Rene Farrell (9) with Australia eight balls short of their allotted overs. Goswami returned 2 for 21 off 9.4 overs while Dhar, Sultana and Roy also collected two victims each.
Rolton felt the defending champions failed to put up a challenging total. "We let a few overs slip through without scoring too many runs," she said. "Maybe another 20 or 30 runs would have made the difference today.
"It's disappointing to go from No. 1 to No. 4 but we can't change it now. We've lost twice to India now after we had a good series against them last November. We just have to look forward now to the Twenty20 World Cup and the tour to England."
She also pointed out that the Australian bowling had not been "spot on" during the tournament. "The best we bowled was the game against England." Rolton said. "Every now and then we probably struggled with our batting for someone to go through and get a good score. We've still got a lot of things to work on but we've got some really good players in our team who are only going to get better.
"We've got a lot of young players and it's been pretty tough for everyone, but probably more so for them. They're only going to get better from it though."