Cape Town, Feb 23 (PTI) : Defending champions Australia held their nerves as they beat India by five runs in a thrilling Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final, here on Thursday. Chasing a target of 173, India women needed just 31 off the last three overs but only managed 167/8 in the end as spinner Ashleigh Gardner bowled a fantastic final over, giving away just 10 runs.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (52 off 34 balls) and Jemimah Rodrigues (43 off 24 balls) added 69 runs in just 6.4 overs to set the platform but while Jemimah was out trying to play a ramp shot, Harmanpreet couldn’t slide her bat in while going for second run.
Richa Ghosh was also out going for a big hit while Deepti Sharma (20 not out off 17 balls) as usual couldn’t produce big hits in the end.Earlier, opener Beth Mooney played a stellar role with a half century, while skipper Meg Lanning hit a 34-ball 49 as Australia scored a challenging 172 for 4 after opting to bat first.
Mooney scored 54 of 37 balls with seven fours and a six while Lanning gave the innings late impetus with four fours and two sixes.
Gardner, WPL’s highest paid overseas recruit, smashed 31 off 18 balls with five boundaries while Shikha Pandey took two wickets for India.
Brief Scores: Australia 172/4 (Beth Mooney 54, Meg Lanning 49, Ashleigh Gardner 31; Shikha Pandey 2/32).
India 167/8 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 52, Jemimah Rodrigues 43, Darcie Brown 2/18, Ashleigh Gardner 2/37).