Women's WC: Australia reach final
Mumbai, Feb 10 : Australia continued its winning ways at the ICC Women's World Cup India 2013 after securing a nine-wicket win against Sri Lanka and a place in its eighth ICC Women's World Cup final.
Win or lose against the West Indies on Feb 13, Jodie Fields' team will appear in the final of the ICC Women's World Cup India 2013 to be held at the Cricket Club of India on Feb 17.
Meanwhile, England's Anya Shrubsole took career-best figures of five wickets for just 17 runs to help the current champion beat South Africa by seven wickets in Cuttack.
The side will play its final Super Six fixture on Feb 13, against New Zealand, in what will be a crucial match for Charlotte Edwards' team to attempt to secure itself a place in its seventh World Cup final.
At CCI, in front of a lively local crowd, Australia won the toss and put Sri Lanka into bat and Fields' bowling attack was clinical in their approach, dismissing Sri Lanka for just 131 off 45.2 overs.
The Sri Lankan batting downfall started early when pacer Megan Schutt cleaned up Yasoda Mendis in the fifth over.
The side's innings never really got going as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
The only batter to offer some resistance was Deepika Rasangika who tried to take the attack to the bowlers striking seven fours in her 43.
Her 49-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Dilani Manodara (21) was the highest of the innings.
Off-spinner Erin Osborne did the damage in the middle-order taking three wickets.
She finished with superb figures of 10-6-9-3 including 54 dot balls. Along with Manodara, she also dismissed the dangerous Eshani Kaushalya, who was brilliantly caught at mid-wicket by Alex Blackwell.
In reply, Australia looked like they were playing on a different pitch to the one the Sri Lankans had started the day on, as openers Meg Lanning (37) and Rachael Haynes (71 not out) put on 55 in under 10 overs before Lanning was out, edging a ball to slip, off the bowling of Sripali Weerakkody.
Haynes was then joined by Jess Cameron as they finished off the match with more than 27 overs to spare to win by nine wickets and secure Australia its place in its eighth Women's World Cup final.
Sri Lanka captain, Shashikala Siriwardena was obviously disappointed with the loss but said there were positives to take from the tournament with one more Super Six game to go.
"We have done well in the past games, especially with our batters but we needed a good score to do well here so that our bowlers could do what we know they are capable of doing. However, we look to our top five to put runs on the board and perform well to ensure that the middle order has something to work with, that simply hasn't happened in the last couple of games," admitted Siriwardena.
"I expected better from our side today, after we had done so well against India and England but again our batters didn't do well today so now it's about moving forward and focusing on South Africa. I think we need to make sure we get a good score on the board if we bat first, but that will of course depend on our batters improving ahead of that match," said the captain.
Siriwardena also said how much she had enjoyed having the crowd supporting the side on Sunday and how much the tournament had showed that Sri Lanka were a side to be reckoned with:
"It was a lovely boost to have a crowd today and to have the Sri Lanka supporters in and hopefully our performances here will help us get bigger crowds in Sri Lanka," Siriwardena said.
"I think this tournament has put the Sri Lanka team on the world stage and the main learning for us is that there isn't such a huge gap between the top four and the rest of the teams. Nobody expected us to beat England and India but we came out here and we've shown people how talented we are as a side, especially with our batting. There are plenty of positives we can take from this event, despite the two recent losses," she said.
Australia's Fields was happy with the way things had gone for the side on Sunday, but was focused on the next Super Six match against West Indies and not the final on Feb 17.
"We're always looking to improve, in different parts of our game, whether its bowling, batting or fielding and we know that we can't relax ahead of the West Indies game as they've some fantastic players in the likes of Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor," Fields said.
"I think our bowling and fielding has been our strength during this tournament and especially leading into this West Indies game we need to keep focusing on the positives and continuously improving," Fields said.
With regards to Sunday's win, Fields was complimentary of her Sri Lankan opponents: "We spoke about how much Sri Lanka had improved ahead of this game and how we wanted to emulate the energy that they bring to the field and we've taken a lot away from them in that sense."
"I think we bowled exceptionally well today, the seamers did well early on and then the spinners came in during the middle overs, Erin Osborne and Lisa Sthalekar, and really did a fantastic job," she said.
"In reply I was happy to see a good opening partnership between Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning before Jess Cameron came in to help Rachael finishing things off for us and get us another win," she said.
Seamer Anya Shrubsole's career-best figures of five for 17 helped England to beat South Africa by seven wickets at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.
After electing to bowl, England dismissed South Africa for just 77 in 29.3 overs and then chased down the target in 9.3 overs to end at 81 for three.
South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals as Shrubsole tore through the batting line-up. Dane van Niekerk with 17 remained unbeaten in the end. The other major wicket-taker for England was Danielle Wyatt who ended with figures of three for seven.
In its reply, England lost wickets early on and was at one stage at 26 for three, thanks to an incisive spell by Chloe Tryon (two for 14). Thereafter, Lydia Greenway (25 n.o.) and Arran Brindle (28 n.o.) added an unbeaten 55 runs for the fourth wicket as England won with plenty to spare.
South Africa captain Mignon du Preez was disappointed with the effort of her side. "It was one of those days where nothing worked for us. Obviously, we played them (England) in the warm-up game where things were quite different. We batted pretty well there. But today Anya Shrubsole bowled superbly, we can't take anything away from her."
"I just think we didn't even give ourselves a chance to spend some time in the middle. She bowled seven overs upfront and we just lost too many wickets at the start," said du Preez.
The South Africa captain conceded that her batters were not experienced enough to handle the pressure of playing defending champion England. The side will next play Sri Lanka on Feb 13 at the same ground.
"I definitely think as a team we're still a little inexperienced. We have to just get back to basics, unfortunately we fell short massively today. We don't want to dwell in the past, these things happen, but we just want to go out there and give it our best shot against Sri Lanka," Du Preez said.
Du Preez said that the side would now aim to finish on a high since it is out of the race for both the third place play-off and the final.
"We came here ranked here eighth, we've already moved into the top six now, so the incentive for us is to finish fifth. We want to go back home on a high," added du Preez.
England's Anya Shrubsole was thrilled with her effort in the morning.
"It was a pretty good wicket. It was more swing than seam that worked for me today, but it's a really good win," said Shrubsole.
The seamers have proved to be the wreckers-in-chief in the tournament thus far, Shrubsole herself is the leading wicket-taker at the moment in the tournament.
The 21-year-old from Somerset reckoned that it has a lot to do with the conditions and also with the high skill levels of the bowlers.
"With the 9am starts, the ball moves around a bit. But the seamers who've bowled upfront have shown a high level of skill I started swinging the ball back in a little bit more than before, but I've bowled consistently in the right areas more than before, and it worked today," Shrubsole said.
England will now have to wait and watch to know what it needs to do to make the final.
England lost early wickets in the chase but Lydia Greenway put that down to the effort put into raise the side's run-rate.
"We wanted to get ahead of the net-run-rate, that could potentially become a factor. We wanted to put ourselves in the best possible position looking ahead of the New Zealand game," said Greenway.
The England batter conceded that the loss in the game against Australia had disappointed the side.
"The Australia game was disappointing. Today again the bowlers put in a magnificent performance. The game today was about making sure we win as well as we can, and our batters managed to do well after the bowlers bowled superbly today," added Greenway.
On Monday, New Zealand will take on West Indies at the Cricket Club of India. The match begins at 0900 (IST).
Scores in Brief
Sri Lanka 131 all out, 45.2 overs (D Rasangika 43; E Orborne 3-9, L Sthalekar 2-26)
Australia 132-1, 22.2 overs (M Lanning 37, R Haynes 71 not out)
Australia won by nine wickets
At Barabati Stadium
South Africa 77 all out, 29.3 overs (A Shrubsole 5-17, D Wyatt 3-17)
England 81-3, 9.3 overs (L Greenway 25 not out, A Brindle 28 not out)
England won by seven wickets