Australia 269 for 4 (Sthalekar 77, Bulow 52) beat England 268 for 8 (Sarah Taylor 101, Claire Taylor 54) by six wickets
Half-centuries from Lisa Sthalekar and Melissa Bulow steered Australia to a comfortable six-wicket win against England at the IIT Chemplast Ground in Chennai. Sarah Taylor had struck 101 to boost England to 268 for 8 but Australia reached their target with 20 balls to spare.
After being asked to bat, Sarah provided the ideal start. England lost Laura Newton for 38 but Sarah added 119 runs for the second wicket with Claire Taylor. Sarah struck her century off 111 balls and hit 15 fours. Claire's 54 took just 56 balls but her dismissal led to a steady fall of wickets.
"My 41 against New Zealand helped me get into a rhythm. I tried to hit fours and take as many singles as possible," said Sarah after her maiden ODI century. "What I have concentrated on is the mental aspect of batting when practicing at the nets. The wickets in India are different from those in England in the manner that the ball comes on a little more and the pitches are harder."
All of England's middle-order batsmen got into double figures but no one made it count. Beth Morgan struck 23 off 20 balls at the death to push England to 268 when at one stage they looked set for much more.
"We were probably lucky that England didn't get to 300," said Karen Rolton, the Australian captain, echoing that sentiment. "On this ground the game can really change any time. It looked like we would go down to the last over but some good hitting by Cathryn Fitzpatrick right at the end meant that we got home with three overs to spare."
Australia started off well, with it's top-order making nuggety contributions with Bulow and Sthalekar scoring 52 and 77 respectively. The openers, Bulow and Shelley Nitschke, added 80 in quick time before both fell on the same score. Rolton joined Sthalekar for a 71-run stand for the third wicket before Kate Blackwell and Sthalekar added 75 for the fourth.
Australia now face India on Saturday in what is effectively a semi-final. The winner of that game will play New Zealand in the final on March 5.