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ICC Women’s World T20 1st Semi-final – Australia vs India: Blackwell Steers Australia Into Final

By on May 14, 2010

Australia 123 for 3 (Blackwell 61) beat India 119 for 5 (Raut 44) by 7 wickets…

The captain Alex Blackwell posted a career-best 61 as she pushed Australia into the final of the Women’s World Twenty20 with a seven-wicket win over India. Chasing India’s below-par 119 for 5, Australia surged early through Blackwell and Shelley Nitschke and cruised to victory with seven balls to spare.

Australia were knocked out by England in the semi-finals in last year’s tournament and are desperate to add this trophy to their five 50-over World Cups. They face the winner of New Zealand and West Indies, who play in St Lucia on Friday, in Sunday’s final in Barbados and will hope the men’s side will also be there.

India thought they had a chance when Elyse Villani was bowled fourth ball by Jhulan Goswami, but Nitschke struck a couple of fours in the second over and Blackwell punished the legspinner Priyanka Roy to grab control. Blackwell powered three boundaries in a row from Roy’s opening offerings, which were all full tosses, and the over eventually cost 15.

After 24 deliveries Australia were 35 and they continued to steam ahead through Blackwell and Nitschke, who put on an impressive 74 for the second wicket at more than seven an over. Nitschke fell on 22 trying to hit over mid-off but Blackwell made sure there were no major hiccups.

She collected eight boundaries – a cut off Goswami at the start was so crisp – and was classy throughout her 49-ball stay, which ended when she charged at Roy (2 for 27) and was stumped. Blackwell had already added some more pain to India when she hit the ball hard into the knee of Rumeli Dhar, who was fielding at silly point. Leah Poulton made sure of the result with 30 off 26 while Jess Cameron was unbeaten on 6.

Wanting a total of at least 130, India found it difficult to increase the pace following their early setbacks and managed only eight fours and a six. The opener Poonam Raut was the anchor with 44 off 51, including three of the boundaries, before becoming one of three wickets in the 17th over.

Raut added an important 57 with Harmanpreet Kaur to give the side a decent base but they needed more. Kaur, who collected 24 off 27, was run-out by a clever flick from the bowler Ellyse Perry (1 for 19) after backing up too far.

Goswami was also caught short in the same over by Blackwell’s direct hit and next ball Raut found Cameron running in from long-on. Amita Sharma, who hit a six in the final over, collected 17 off 11 and Dhar chipped in with 12 from nine to provide a late boost.

The key breakthrough came when the offspinner Lisa Sthalekar was called in the eighth over and had the brilliant Mithali Raj (16) stumped, dropping India to 31 for 2. Rene Farrell (1 for 22) also struck a crucial blow with the third ball of the game when Sulakshana Naik cut to Cameron at backward point. Australia’s three fast bowlers kept things tight and then the spinners Sthalekar and Nitschke built the pressure to set up the success.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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