Published: Fri, July 21, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

India chooses to bat after winning the toss

India chooses to bat after winning the toss

Australia vice-captain Alex Blackwell believes the prospect of facing England in front of a sell-out crowd of Lord's is the ideal incentive to beat India in their World Cup semi-final.

Mithali Raj's side will face England in Sunday's sellout final at Lord's.

The unbeaten was sensational but not unexpected. Adam Gilchrist, who was on commentary, described it "as good a cricketing shot as you would ever see". The Australians by now had failed to find an answer to Harmanpreet's onslaughts. But more importantly, she had won yet another admirer.

Electing to bat after winning the toss in a rain-shortened 42-overs-a-side semi-final at the County Ground here, Kaur hammered her third One-day global ton, laced with 20 fours and seven massive sixes, to set a daunting 282-run target.

Her opening partner Punam, who scored a valiant ton against Australia in the league stage will aim to replicate her form in the big semi-final.

"We said from the very beginning, it was going to be a very interesting tournament having to play everyone once", she said. Consequently, the women's T20 team's captain failed to string together a sequence of decent scores. Times have been tough and she has remained tougher. "They won the last edition of this tournament and they have a lot of players who have played in high pressure games", the 34-year-old added.

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Under the floodlights in overcast conditions, Kaur was forced to be watchful as she and Raj slowly played India into the match but spinner Kristen Beams bowled the former for 36. The Southern Stars, after all, were World Champions. She is greeted with hugs and kisses by her teammates as she returns back to the pavillion, and they know it's a great total. Mithali's side was clearly the underdog coming into Derby. Both batters had to dive, but made their ground. That's precisely what happened. This is a woman that has been not out in 28% of her ODI innings. It was a knock that Sehwag would have been proud of. I was hitting the ball and told Deepthi to give the strike. The start was fairly sedate. It was an uphill task from there but Harmanpreet Kaur was up to the task. However, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur led the revival for the Indian side with a 66 run partnership amongst themselves.

Harmanpreet has struck a couple of boundaries in her short innings so far, but those deliveries are the exception as India has put its shutters down.

Raj said after the defeat to Australia in Bristol that she needed more of her team to step up and support her in the middle.

Thereafter, Elyse Villani (75) and Ellyse Perry (38) joined forces to 105-run fourth wicket stand that threatened to take the match away from the grasps of the Indians. "My plan was to watch the ball and hit the ball, and this is exactly what I did", Kaur said.

Despite having scored just 137 runs in the tournament prior to this innings, the all-rounder obliterated Australia's attack as she took India from 35-2 to 281-4 in the rain reduced 42-overs per side match.

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