Australia clinch thriller to make seventh straight final

Monitoring Desk

Cape Town: Australia have reached a seventh successive T20 World Cup final but not without an almighty fight from India, who came five runs short in a thrilling semi-final in Cape Town.

The margin of defeat is four runs smaller than it was at the Commonwealth Games final last year, but that will be little consolation for India, who may feel they only have themselves to blame for failing to get over the line while chasing 173.

They were clumsy in the field, conceded at least 15 runs through overthrows and misfields and dropped two crucial catches – Meg Lanning on 1 and Beth Mooney on 32 – and were equally nervy between the wickets. Two crucial run-outs dented their chase including that of Harmanpreet Kaur.

The India captain was ill on the eve of the match and briefly hospitalised with a fever but fronted up to lead her side and almost took them home. After a poor start which left India on 28 for 3 in the fourth over, Harmanpreet shared in a 69-run fourth-wicket stand with Jemimah Rodrigues and then brought up her first fifty of the tournament.

She had barely celebrated it when her bat got stuck in the ground while sliding it in for a second run and Alyssa Healy was quick to break the stumps, leaving India’s middle and lower order to get 40 runs off the last 32 balls. (Cricinfo)