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World Cup Hopes

Caught Short

I ndia’s hard-hitting Harmanpreet Kaur single-handedly belted Australia’s women out of World Cup contention in Derby last month.

The Aussies’ hopes of winning back-to-back ICC Women’s World Cup titles ended with an upset 36-run semi-final loss to India, with Kaur plundering possibly the most remarkable century women’s cricket has seen – a stunning unbeaten 171 from just 115 balls.

The World Cup script had been going to schedule with Australia looking on target to face host England in the final – until Harmanpreet hit. The 28-year-old, at her third World Cup, powered her side to a formidable 4/281 from 42 overs after rain had delayed the start. The Aussies had India 2/35 in the 10th over before Kaur arrived at the crease. But they had no answers to her power hitting as she plundered 20 fours and seven sixes.

The challenging run chase started terribly, Australia slumping to 3/21 with Beth Mooney (one), captain Meg Lanning (a duck) and Nicole Bolton (14) bundled out early.

In-form Ellyse Perry (38) and Elyse Villani (75) set about rebuilding the Aussie innings, the duo combining for a 105-run partnership, before a cluster of middle-order wickets hurt. Not even a terrific 90 from 56 balls to Alex Blackwell was enough to get her side across the line, Australia bowled out for 245 in the 41st over.

While ultimately ending in disappointment, Australia’s Cup campaign included some standout individual performances. On the batting side, Perry hit five consecutive half-centuries and 404 runs from eight games in the tournament, Lanning achieved her highest ODI score of 152 not out against Sri Lanka at Bristol, the third-highest score of the tournament, Bolton scored an unbeaten 107 and Villani’s 34-ball half-century was the fastest by an Australian at the Women’s World Cup.

Kristen Beams was Australia’s leading wicket-taker with 12, including 3/23 against Pakistan.

SA Scorpions opening bowler Megan Schutt took 10 wickets from her seven games, with a best of 3/40 against New Zealand. SA’s other representative, leg-spinner Amanda Wellington, took one wicket in her single appearance.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the successful tournament – won by England at a sold-out Lord’s in London – demonstrated the continued growth in women’s cricket.

“The success of this tournament serves to excite us about the prospect of hosting the women’s Ashes in November this year – and looking further ahead to the ICC World Twenty20 for women in February-March 2020, which will precede the men’s version of the event to be played later in the year in October-November,” he said.

Sarah Taylor and Tammy Beaumont, who have both represented South Australia women’s teams, were key players in England’s World Cup win.

SA Scorpions pace ace Megan Schutt appeals for a wicket in Australia’s World Cup clash with the West Indies in Taunton.