Kaur won the toss and opted to bat with the team selection raising some eyeballs. Mithali Raj, one of India’s most experienced players, was not included for the semifinal with the skipper reflecting the team was “sticking to the winning combination” that helped get the better of Australia in the dead rubber. Following the defeat, she was asked whether the decision makes sense in hindsight and she said, “Whatever we decided, we decided for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, no regrets. I’m proud of the way my girls played through the tournament.”
Smriti Mandhana and Taniya Bhatia gave India a decent start by putting together 43 runs for the opening wicket inside the Powerplay overs. When Following’s Bhatia exit in the ninth over, with India 53/2, the flow of runs slowed down despite high flying Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet in the middle. At 89/2, Jemimah was dismissed by Kirstie Gordon as England spinners made merry on the tricky pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Following Jemimah into the pavillion were Veda Krishnamurthy (2), Harmanpreet (16), Dayalan Hemalatha (1), Anuja Patil (0) and Radha Yadav (4) to go from 89/2 to 104/8. Between 13.3 overs and 18.4 overs, or 31 balls, India lost six wickets for 15 runs without a boundary in between to hand the advantage to England. Arundhati Reddy and Deepti Sharma followed in the final over of the innings.
England’s chase didn’t get off to the best of starts with Radha Yadav striking in the second over to dismiss Tamsin Beaumont. Deepti got another England wicket in the fifth over to send the other opener in Danielle Wyatt back in the pavillion. At 24/2, India had the right start and hope of defending the small total. But those hopes were dashed by smart and sensible batting by Sciver and Jones to keep their head steady in the 113 run chase.
The final between England and Australia will be played on Sunday. England are looking to win their second World Cup in 18 months having clinched the 50 over edition at home.