The ICC Women's World Cup group clash between Australia and India will be, and should be, remembered for several reasons. It saw Mithali Raj take over Charlotte Edwards as the highest run-getter in ODI history and also become the first woman to score 6000 runs in the history of the 50-over game.
Raj's 69 and a magnificent 106 from Poonam Raut, though, wasn't enough to stop the Australian juggernaut as they sealed an eight-wicket win to jump to the top of the table. Set 226, Meg Lanning scored an unbeaten 76 while handy contributions from Ellyse Perry (60 not out) and Beth Mooney ensured Australia's smooth passage over the line.
The loss also makes things fairly simple for India. A win against New Zealand in their last game will seal a semifinal spot and a loss will knock them out of the tournament. While Australia's victory also ensured that South Africa qualified for the semi-final as well. Things, of course, could have been much different but while other teams picked up their game as the tournament progressed, India have lost form and find themselves in a difficult situation. India's losses have also put the mighty impressive South Africa in a very good place to make it to the knockout.
On first sight, the track at the County Ground in Bristol would have pleased India team more than their opponents. And considering they got the opportunity to make first use of a dying track, it gave them slight edge. The runs were there, but there could have been more if there wasn't a late wobble. The spinners failed to use the help from the wicket and the Australia batters bossed them with ease.
Put in, Smriti Mandhana endured another failure after she was dismissed by Ashleigh Gardner in the fourth over. Raj promoted herself up and what followed was a 157-run stand for the second wicket between the Indian captain and Raut. They batted for 37.1 overs and set up an ideal platform for the other batters to provide a late flourish.
But in the last four overs, India scored just 24 and lost five wickets. That period proved decisive and forced the Asian side to settle for a par score. The partnership between Raj and Mithali started cautiously and picked up the ante towards the end. But there extensive periods where Raj struggled and Raut kept the runs coming with her aggression.
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