India beat Australia to finish third in women’s World Cup

March 21st, 2009 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 21 (IANS) India beat defending champions Australia by three wickets in a playoff to finish third in women’s World Cup cricket at Bankstown Oval here Saturday.
The Indian bowlers ran through the Australian batting order, bundling out the hosts for 142 in 44.4 overs with just three batters - captain Karen Rolton (52), Lisa Sthalekar (30) and Alex Blackwell (19) - managing double digit scores. Indian skipper Jhulan Goswami and Rumeli Dhar were the pick of the bowlers, snaring two wickets each.

India’s chase was not smooth sailing either and they faltered and fumbled before eventually reaching 145 for seven wickets in 43.5 overs in the tie which was reduced to 46-overs-a-side following rain. Sthalekar (3 for 27), Erin Osborne (2 for 21) and Ellyse Perry (2 for 26) were the best of the Australian bowlers.

This was India’s second victory over Australia whom they had earlier beaten by 16 runs in the Super Six stage.

Rolton’s decision to bat first backfired with Jhulan castling Leah Poulton with the fourth delivery of the day.

Shelley Nitschke (6), the other opener, too didn’t last long as Rumeli removed her in the sixth over to reduce the hosts to eight for two.

Rolton and Blackwell steadied the ship before India’s left-arm spinner Gouher Sultana removed Blackwell and Australia soon lost the top half of their batting order for a mere 63. Rolton found an able ally in the Pune-born Sthalekar and they put on 60 runs before spinner Priyanka Roy removed the Australian captain to trigger a batting collapse and the hosts eventually folded up for 142 runs.

India got off to a decent start with opener Anjum Chopra (18) and Anagha Deshpande (15) adding 33 runs before Erin Osborne removed both in successive overs.

Sthalekar then ran through the middle order, removing Mithali Raj (15), Sulakshana Naik (28) and Priyanka (6) to leave India reeling at 104 for seven.

Jhulan (18) and Rumeli (24), however, arrested the slide with an unbeaten 41-run stand

and stayed till the end to complete a close win with 13 balls to spare.

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