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Women's T20: Australia crush India to enter final

Last updated on: May 14, 2010 11:14 IST

Rene FarrellCaptain Alex Blackwell led from the front with a punishing 61 as Australia crushed India by seven wickets to storm into the final of the Women's World Twenty20 at Gros Islet, St Lucia on Thursday.

Pursuing India's modest 119 for five, Australia made 123 for three and maintained their winning streak in the event.

Blackwell struck eight lusty boundaries during her maiden half-century innings in Twenty20 Internationals.

Together with opener Shelley Nitschke (22), the aggression-personified 27-year-old Australian skipper shared 74 runs for the second wicket to dent India's hopes.

There was very little Jhulan Goswami's girls could do when Blackweel and Nitschke were at the crease as runs came in torrents during their 60-ball partnership.

Leg-spinner Priyanka Roy picked up both the wickets but it proved too little too late for the Indians.

Priyanka first dismissed left-handed Shelley, who was holed out to Rumeli Dhar and then got Blackwell stumped by Sulakshana Naik but by that time Australia were almost home.

Leah Pouton (30 n.o.) and Jessica Cameron (6 n.o.) drove the final nail into the Indian coffin as Australia romped home with seven balls to spare.

Earlier, the Indian innings was bolstered by a gutsy 57-run third-wicket partnership between Poonam Raut (44) and Harmanpreet Kaur (24).

The duo mostly dealt in ones and twos and scored occasional boundaries to lay the foundation for the score after India lost two early wickets for just 31 runs.

Poonam was industrious, driving the fast bowlers on the up with gusto. She used her feet effectively against the Australian spinners -– Lisa Sthalekar and Nitschke. She was ably supported by Harmanpreet at the other end.

Coming in at the fall of Mitahli Raj (16) Harmanpreet was positive from word go and went after the Australian attack, once smashing off-spinner Sthalekar to mid-wicket.

India lost three wickets -- Harmanpreet, Jhulan Goswami and Poonam -- in the 17th over as they pressed for quick runs.

Amita Sharma (17) and Reema Malhotra (12) played short little unbeaten cameos to help India's cause. Amita smashed Clea Smith over long off for the only six of the match.

Australian will meet either New Zealand or the West Indies in Sunday's final in Barbados.

Brief Scores:
India: 119 for five in 20 overs (Poonam Raut 44, Harmanpreet Kaur 24; Ellyse Perry 1/19).
Australia: 123 for three in 18.5 overs (Alex Blackwell 61, Leah Pouton 30 n.o.; Priyanka Roy 2/27).

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