Australia 172 for 4 (Mooney 54, Lanning 49*, Pandey 2-32) beat India 167 for 8 (Harmanpreet 52, Rodrigues 43, Brown 2-18) by five runs
Cape Town: Australia are through to the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup after beating India in a thriller at Newlands.
A first-innings total of 172/4 proved just marginally out of India’s reach, despite a terrific middle-order effort that took the game right down to the final few deliveries.
Perhaps the big turning point in the match came when India’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur suffered a freak run-out when her bat stuck in the ground as she looked to run it in.
And with the captain back in the dugout, the need for quick runs at the death proved slightly too much for India to manage as they fell agonisingly short.
The start of the reply saw runs flow, but Megan Schutt had Shafali Verma trapped lbw for 9 and Ash Gardner removed Smriti Mandhana for 2 to put the Aussies well on top. And a run-out of Yastika Bhatia strengthened Australia's grip on the game.
India’s decision to play an extra batter saw Harmanpreet Kaur join Jemimah Rodrigues out in the middle at number five, and the pair set about launching a counter-attack.
The 59 runs that India amassed in the Powerplay is the most an Australia attack have conceded in the first six overs of a match since the last Women’s T20 World Cup back in 2020.
And Kaur and Rodrigues put on 69 runs in an electric partnership that put India ahead of the rate before Rodrigues flicked a bouncer through to the keeper to depart for 43 from 24 balls.
The brilliant Kaur brought up her fifty in style, but disaster struck moments later, when she was run out in bizarre fashion for 52 just when it looked like India were favourites to go on and win the game.
And with Kaur removed, there was just too much work to do for the lower order, as Australia finished strongly to win by five runs.
Earlier, it was Australia who won the toss and opted to bat first against India at Newlands, and the good news for India was that Kaur was out in the middle for the toss after rumours that she was feeling too unwell to play.
The sickness bug did mean that India were missing Pooja Vastrakar, with Sneh Rana brought straight into the team in her place, while there was an interesting tweak to the balance as they opted to add another top-order batting option in Yastika Bhatia.
Australia also shuffled their pack, bringing Alyssa Healy back after injury and opting to replace Alana King with the left-arm option of Jess Jonassen.
And the returning Healy stroked the first ball of the innings for four to spark a solid opening partnership that made it through the Powerplay unscathed and built a 52-run stand.
India finally made the breakthrough, with Radha Yadav tempting Healy down the wicket and Richa Ghosh pulling off the stumping, with Healy departing for 25.
And Beth Mooney reached her half-century before falling just moments later, caught by Shafali Verma who had dropped the opener earlier in the innings.