Australia reach seventh consecutive T20 final after thrilling win over India | Women’s T20 World Cup 2023

There was one question on everyone’s lips ahead of Thursday’s T20 World Cup semi-final: would Harmanpreet Kaur play? The India captain may have had a quiet tournament so far (with scores of 16, 33, 4 and 13 in the group stages), but sometimes a player is a talisman. When you play Australia, you need one.

This is the player who, the last time these two teams met in a World Cup semi-final, failed to hit 171 while nursing a broken finger. So Harmanpreet, being Harmanpreet, took it all in stride: “I wasn’t fine, but I’m fine now.”

Could he perform a miracle once again? For a while, even with India chasing a daunting 173, and with her team already 28 for 3 when she reached the crease, Harmanpreet looked like she might make it. It’s not often that Meg Lanning’s Australia looks under pressure. but with Harmanpreet and Jemimah Rodrigues (43 off 24) smashing Ellyse Perry and Jess Jonassen for bags of runs, they felt it. Lanning confused a direct run with a freak throw to the wrong end. Alyssa Healy put Harmanpreet behind the stumps. Tahlia McGrath went above and beyond. All small miracles in their own right.

He couldn’t hold on. Harmanpreet hit two fours off Georgia Warham to bring up a 32-ball half-century, but two balls later she had to make a mad dash for her ground, only to have her bat stick to the turf. You could almost forgive the way she tossed it away in frustration before leaving.

India's Harmanpreet Kaur clears the ball offside during her innings against Australia.
Harmanpreet Kaur clears the ball offside during her innings against Australia. Photo: Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images

Even with Rodrigues already back in the dugout, having beaten a Brown bouncer behind the stumps, it wasn’t over – Richa Ghosh (14), Deepti Sharma (20 not out) and Sneh Rana (11 off 10) bowled their their. bats around. But with 20 needed off the last two, and Jonassen and Ash Gardner somehow keeping it tight at the death, India slumped to an agonizing six runs. So close and yet so far.

And yet India had only itself to blame. Beth Mooney’s 54 from 37 balls and Lanning’s unbeaten 49 not out were the key hands in Australia’s 172 for four, but Lanning was dismissed by Ghosh in one after Rana edged behind the stumps. and was then given another life at nine as Goss made a fumble attempt. Meanwhile, Shafali Verma parried a set-piece chance at long-on that would have sent Mooney back to the dugout on 32. Instead, she had to watch it trickle behind her over the rope. Harmanpreet had to leave the field temporarily during Australia’s innings, apparently struggling with dehydration – a decent metaphor for her team’s effort to compete.

Key to Australia’s dominance was the cancellation of Renuka Singh Thakur – so threatening against her at the Commonwealth Games. However, here Healy (25 off 26) dispatched the first ball of Renuka’s first over, crashing through the off-side for four, then ground it in the next.

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Renuka returned to finish the over after Gardner (31 off 18) and Grace Harris bowled the 18th and 19th overs, trying for a big finish. So Lanning got the big finish for herself – hammering Renuka for two huge sixes over deep backward square. The seamer finished with 0 for 41 – the most expensive of the Indian bowlers.

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