India captain Mithali Raj, right, plays a shot watched by Australia's wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy
India captain Mithali Raj, right, plays a shot watched by Australia's wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy Rui Vieira

VIDEO: Aussie women go to 'custard' in semi-final defeat

AUSTRALIA coach Matthew Mott said his team "went to custard" as they were bundled out of the World Cup semi-final at the hands of a unbeaten devastating 171 from Harmanpreet Kaur.

For the second time in the tournament Australia had no answer for a batter on fire after Chamari Athapaththu scored an unbeaten 178 against them in the second match of the tournament.

Mott said Australia was unable to react to those situations and it ultimately proved their demise.

"Very disappointing I think. I thought the start with the ball was good and we executed our plans pretty well but ran in to someone who was red hot and just didn't adapt quickly enough and possibly the innings of her life," Mott said.

"That's two we've had in this competition we haven't reacted well to so, very disappointing. It was a good cricket wicket I think but they scored 40 or 50 too many, definitely.

"We needed to stop the haemorrhaging there when they were going. Just needed some discipline there and just went to custard to be honest. They got far too many."

India won the toss and elected to bat once play got under way after rain prevented the players from coming out for more than three hours from the scheduled time. It meant each side would have just 42 overs and India used them well.

They were scoring at a steady rate for the first 10 overs but the arrival of Kaur after Punam Raut was dismissed by Ashleigh Gardner in the 10th over was when things started to change.

Kaur saw out the innings with partnerships of 66, 137 and 52 with Mithali Raj (36), Deepti Sharma (25) and Veda Krishnamurthy (15) respectively as she went on to record the equal fifth highest total in an ODI and fourth highest in a World Cup.

She punished nearly everything that was sent her way, moving from 68 runs to 171 in just 40 deliveries. She reached her 50 having hit one six and six fours and then made 121 off 51 balls including 14 fours and a six.

India's Jhulan Goswami, centre, celebrates after dismissing Australia's Alyssa Healy
India's Jhulan Goswami, centre, celebrates after dismissing Australia's Alyssa Healy Rui Vieira

Australia again went in to the match with just five recognised bowlers, three of whom were spinners. The move had attracted some criticism and raised concerns as to how they would cope in a pressure situation, but Mott said Kaur's innings was unique and unstoppable by late in the game.

"We've seen what she can do before. They have four or five really good players, I think that's what makes them such a dangerous side," Mott said

"They do try and play a similar brand of cricket to us where they set it up at the start and they aren't too adventurous. The way they came home today was extraordinary really.

"The extra bowler, you can argue whether that would've made a difference but I think anyone who was bowling at that stage at the end ... she was swinging hard and connecting with every single ball so that makes it tough but we've got to be better."

It was a valiant chase from Australia. Veteran Alex Blackwell, playing in her fourth World Cup, led the way from the middle order finishing with 90 and a record 10th-wicket stand of 76 off 46 balls with Kristen Beams.

Australia's Elyse Villani, right, plays a shot watched by India's wicketkeeper Sushma Verma
Australia's Elyse Villani, right, plays a shot watched by India's wicketkeeper Sushma Verma Rui Vieira

Elyse Villani redeemed a couple of poor innings from previous matches with a 75 while Ellyse Perry scored 38.

But there wasn't enough contribution from a batting order that had been lauded for its depth and after Blackwell came in at six, it was only Beams who posted a double figure score.

Blackwell admitted more was needed from the rest of the order if they were to be a chance of winning.

"We did lose a clump of wickets. Where we just needed a partnership a little higher up the order," the vice captain said.

"Obviously Beamsy and I were able to generate a partnership but it was the last wicket, so if we could just have had that a little bit higher in the order, then it could have been a different story."

Mott said there would be a full review once they returned home. Australia went in to the tournament strong favourites to defend their title from 2013 but lacked consistency at a team and individual level.

"Pat Howard, the boss, will certainly ask some questions so when we get home we'll have to face the music I guess," Mott said.

"Go through what went right, what went wrong and there'll be a lot of questions asked. We came here with the expectation to win. We had a team that could have won the competition and we didn't.

"Now's not the time. We'll let it digest. We're hurting a fair bit at the moment but there's certainly a lot of areas we can work on."

News Corp Australia


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