Cricket World Cup: Australia beat India to reach semi-finals

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Australia achieved the greatest comeback in Women’s World Cup history when they beat India and advanced to the semi-finals.

India reached 277-7 following half-centuries by Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Mithali Raj on a fantastic pitch.

Before captain Meg Lanning was dismissed for 97 in the penultimate over, Australia appeared to be cruising.

In a tense atmosphere in Auckland, Australia needed eight runs from the penultimate over, but Beth Mooney sealed the six-wicket victory with three balls to spare.

It meant Australia beat Sri Lanka’s 258-run chase at the 2017 World Cup, and they also had the third-best chase in all women’s one-day internationals.

Their fifth victory of the tournament puts them two points ahead of South Africa at the top of the table, ensuring a spot in the final four.

To advance, India will most likely need to win their final two matches, against Bangladesh and South Africa.

When they were given the opportunity to bat at Eden Park, the 2017 runners-up appeared to be putting pressure on tournament favourites Australia in front of a boisterous and vociferous crowd.

When India’s innings came to a halt at 213-6 in the 43rd over, Harmanpreet plundered 57 from 47 balls, adding 64 with Pooja Vastrakar in a riotous seventh-wicket stand.

Alyssa Healy, whose 72 came off only 65 balls as she and opening partner Rachael Haynes zipped along at seven an over, snatched any momentum India had earned.

Despite losing two wickets for two runs, Lanning and Ellyse Perry were in perfect control of the situation during their 103-run partnership, manipulating the ball and rushing between the wickets.

A rain delay halted Australia’s progress, following which Perry smashed a Vastrakar full toss to Raj at cover.

The needed rate briefly exceeded a run-per-ball, but Lanning found a willing partner in left-hander Mooney.

Mooney kept her cool as the India fans began to believe again, and veteran seamer Jhulan Goswami bowled the final over in her 200th ODI.

She hit Goswami back over her head for the winning boundary after heaving over mid-wicket for four. She then took advantage of a mis-field to pinch two more.

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