Australia beats India by eight wickets

India’s semifinal prospects suffered a massive setback after Australia cantered to a convincing eight-wicket win, riding on a superb batting show by its top-order in the ICC Women's World Cup here today.

Meg Lanning scored an unbeaten 76.   -  Getty Images

India’s semifinal prospects suffered a massive setback after Australia cantered to a convincing eight-wicket win, riding on a superb batting show by its top-order in the ICC Women's World Cup here today.

Put into bat, opener Punam Raut's fighting century and a 69 from record-breaking skipper Mithali Raj enabled India to post a decent 226 for seven in their sixth group league encounter.

Australia overhauled the target with 29 balls to spare, scoring 227 for two, courtesy some fine batting by skipper Meg Lanning (76 not out) and Ellyse Perry (60 not out).

Beth Mooney (45) and Nicole Bolton (36) laid the foundation with a 62-run opening partnership in 15.4 overs.

Mithali said at the post-match presentation ceremony, “It was a decent total after losing our first wicket in the first couple of overs. We should have got more runs in the middle overs, but it was still a competitive total. But the bowlers didn't look penetrative, it was a slow wicket.”

After this loss, India is now placed at the fourth spot with eight points. It will have to win its next and final league match against New Zealand to make the knockout stage. “Even for New Zealand, probably, it will be a do-or-die match. If we look forward to qualifying, we really need to upgrade our quality of cricket.”

Mooney and Bolton made a watchful start to their innings as Indian pacers Jhulan Goswami and Deepti Sharma bowled maiden overs first up.

Left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht was introduced into the attack and Bolton exploded with three back-to-back fours. Mooney and Bolton helped Australia score 57 in the first 15 overs before the latter was sent packing by Poonam Yadav in the next over.

Mooney then blasted a couple of fours off Sharma in the next over, while new batswoman Lanning too joined the party with a clean strike over Yadav's head and then hitting one over mid-off as Australia reached 82 for one.

The duo brought up the hundred in the 23rd over, but Mooney was run-out with Deepti producing a brilliant fielding at short extra-cover.

Perry then joined Lanning and the took the ones and twos and occasional boundaries to keep the scoreboard ticking. They brought up the 150 when Perry bisected the deep mid-wicket and long-on with a boundary in the 32nd over.

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