Harmanpreet Kaur-led Indian women faced another heartbreak on Thursday as they lost the semi-finals against Australia by just 5 runs to go out of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. It was India’s yet another defeat in the knockout match, as they lost against Australia earlier in the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 final and in the Commonwealth Games 2022 final. Knocking out India, the defending champions Australia goes straight to the Women’s T20 WC final for the 7th time.
Opted to bat first, Australia posted a mammoth total of 172/4 in 20 overs. Beth Mooney’s magnificent half-century helped the Aussies post such a high score in the match. Mooney has got 54 runs off 37 balls. Meg Lanning was also stunning with the bat as she was unbeaten in 49 of 34.
Australia got off to an exciting start in the game with a 52-run stand between the openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney, and they now own the record for the most runs opened together in the T20 World Cup. The all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner was brilliant with the bat and ball, scoring 31 runs off 18 balls along with picking 2 wickets. In total, Australia has got 172 runs in a 4-wicket loss.
India Women were not good with their fielding as they dropped Beth Mooney which really cost them such a big target to cross. Also, there was quite a misfield as they gave away 10 more runs than they should have and they lost the game for just 5 runs.
While chasing, India women were first down and put at 3 down for not scoring a lot inside the Powerplay. Shafali Verma (9 off 6), Smriti Mandhana (2 off 5), and Yastika Bhatia (4 off 7) went out early without scoring much. But Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues steadied the ship and brought back hope for the side. Together they produced a counter-attacking 69-run stand from just 41 balls.
Jemimah Rodrigues fell for 43 for 24 balls but Harmanpreet Kaur continued along with Richa Ghosh. Then it came down to India as they need around 40 in 34 but Harmanpreet was dismissed.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s run out
It was Harmanpreet’s run-out that proved to be a game-changer for the Indian side. In the 15th over, Harmanpreet ran for a single on Wareham’s delivery and when she came back for the second one, her bat got stuck in the middle that she was unable to return to the crease. Alyssa dismissed the skipper for 52.
Captain Harmanpreet was reportedly ill ahead of the match, yet decided to play this important match as she couldn’t leave the team in the semi-finals. She has scored a half-century but gets run out in an unfortunate way. With her innings, she has set a record for the highest score by an Indian woman player in T20 World Cup knockouts.
It was very much disappointing for the team and the fans to face a 5-run defeat. During the post-match, Harmanpreet said “Can’t feel unluckier than this. We got the momentum back with Jemi. To lose from here, we weren’t expecting this. The way I got run out, can’t be unluckier than that. Putting the effort was important and we were happy to go to the last ball. We wanted to fight till the last ball”.
Ashleigh Gardner is the Player of the Match for her all-round show, 31 and two wickets: “Last over, my heart rate was about 190 (laughs). That’s how we fight as a team. That’s what we spoke at the huddle after the match. We weren’t in a winning position, but we find a way, we scrap hard, and we win. We set the game up well with the bat, missed a few with the ball….showed character”, Gardner said.
The first semi-finals end here and Australia goes straight to the finals now. England will face South Africa in the second semi-finals today. Let’s wait and watch who will go next to the finals.