Australia beat South Africa to set a final date with India at the MCG on March 8

The iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is all set to be painted blue and yellow as India and Australia will lock horns against each other in the World T20 final on the eve of International Women’s Day.

The tickets to MCG are getting sold out like hotcakes and with close to a lakh people in the stadium on March 8, the finale is going to be a cricketing feast.

While India, the table-toppers in Group A, got a kind of bye against England in the semi-final on Thursday at Sydney, courtesy a heavy downpour, the hosts had a relatively tough game against South Africa just hours after India England schedule match. There was a rain scare washing out the second semi-final as well, however, we got a game though a little curtailed one.

Rain spoils Thailand vs Pakistan Game
Rain spoiled India vs England Semi-Finals. Pic Credits: ICC

 

Winning the toss and rightly electing to field first, South Africa put up a commendable performance with the ball as they managed to tame the strong Australian batting line-up for 134-5 in 20 overs. Missing the services of Marizanne Kapp, the Proteas opened with Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka. Khaka bowled an exceptional opening spell and saw the back of Alyssa Healy (18) inside the powerplay to give a solid start to her team. Skipper Meg Lanning (49 not out) joined Beth Mooney (28) to ensure that the Aussie ship was sailing neat and fine. Lanning then partnered with her deputy Rachael Haynes (17) to help her team put up a respectable score on board. For the Proteas, it was Nadine de Klerk, who was the pick of the bowlers as she wreaked havoc with her figures of 3-19 in four overs.

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The rain God who had been quiet for the entire first innings and could not resist but wanted to make His presence felt. At the end of the first innings, it started pouring at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The clock was ticking and the number of overs in the remainder of the match was reducing. The outfield was wet and probably the eyes in the Aussie camp were welled. If it would have continued to rain, the hopes of the defending champions making it to the finals would have been washed out. However, even the rain God could not come in the way of Australia and the World T20 final. We had a game on.

The Proteas were set a new target of 98 in 13 overs as per the D/L method. It did not work in their favor since the required run rate was hiked from 6.75 runs per over (135 in 20 overs) to 7.54 runs per over (98 in 13 overs). The opening pair of Lizelle Lee (10) and skipper Dane van Niekerk (12) started off cautiously, but the duo was sent packing inside four overs by the disciplined Australian bowling unit. Sune Luus (21) and Laura Wolvaardt 941 not out) took the game all the way down the wire, but in the end, the team that held their nerves prevailed. The South Africans fell short of just five runs as they scored 92-5 in 13 overs. Aussie spearhead Megan Schutt was the pick of the bowlers as she scalped 2-17 in her three overs.

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Meg Lanning was adjudged the player of the match for her unbeaten match-winning knock of 49.

The defending champions and the hosts will take on India in the grand finale at the magnificent MCG on Sunday. There is no doubt that it is going to be a cracker of a contest.

 

India vs Australia in Women's T20 World Cup Final
India vs Australia in Women’s T20 World Cup Final

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