05 March 2020

Australia downs Proteas to face India in T20 final

Australia’s quest for a fifth ICC Women’s T20 World Cup title remains intact following a five-run, Duckworth-Lewis System win over South Africa in a rain-affected semi-final clash at the SCG.

Australia will meet the undefeated Indian side in the final this Sunday as India – the highest seeded team from Group 1 – progressed through to the decider when their semi-final clash with England was abandoned due to wet weather.

With the threat of rain hanging over large parts of Sydney, South Africa won the toss and elected to field. Australia set a total of 5/134 – later revised under the Duckworth-Lewis System to see South Africa asked to chase 98 off their 13 overs.

Captain Meg Lanning was the hero for the Australians – her unbeaten, 49 runs from as many balls faced saw the tournament hosts to a competitive total at the end of their 20 overs.

Lanning’s knock clawed the Australians from 4/71 to their eventual total, before the Australian bowlers restricted South Africa to 5/92 to win through to the final at the MCG.

Sent into bat, Australia kick-started its innings in fine fashion when opening pairing Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney combined for 34 runs inside the first five overs.

Healy was dismissed by Ayabonga Khaka for 18 within sight of the end of the Powerplay, which brought Lanning to the crease.

Established batter Mooney looked intent on notching a big score when she smashed two boundaries in the sixth over to see the Australians race to 1/48 at the end of six overs.

But soon after, South African fast bowler Nadine De Klerk sent Mooney’s leg stump flailing and shock waves through the Australian middle order.

The Australians lost 3/3 to be clambering at 4/71, but Lanning steadied the ship in partnerships with Rachael Haynes and Nic Carey.

Rain held off for the all-but the final over of the Australian innings, before showers returned at the scheduled innings break.

The delay in returning from the break saw South Africa set a revised run chase of 98 runs from 13 overs.

The Proteas raced to 0/20 early before losing three wickets in quick time – openers Lizelle Lee (10) and captain Dane van Niekerk (12) dismissed after their run-a-ball innings.

Megan Schutt was the pick of the Australian bowlers with figures of 3/17 off her three overs, while Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux and Delissa Kimmince contributed one wicket each.  

Earlier in the day, persistent rain in Sydney saw the first semi-final between India and England abandoned, with conditions deemed unfit for play at the time of the would-be match. India progressed through to the final as the highest seed in Group 1.               

But despite more than 33 mm of rainfall falling in Sydney on the day, SCG Curator Adam Lewis and his team of ground staff got to work to see the field of play fit for a match prior to the scheduled start time of the second semi-final.

India heads into Sunday’s final looking to claim its first WT20 World Cup after falling to the West Indies in the final at the 2016 edition of the tournament.

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