Women’s World Cup: Rain halts Australia’s controlled chase against India

Auckland, March 19 (IANS) Rain halted Australia’s controlled pursuit to chase 278 against India in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup at Eden Park on Saturday.

As of now, Australia are 225/2 in 41 overs, with the DLS par score at 197, implying that the six-time champions are ahead by 28 runs. Rain had been previously predicted for the whole day and it stayed away from the match till the 41 overs of Australia’s chase were completed.

After Mithali Raj, Yastika Bhatia and Harmanpreet Kaur slammed fifties to help India post a competitive 277/7 in 50 overs, Australia began by picking nine boundaries in power-play, six of which were hammered by Alyssa Healy while three belonged to Rachael Haynes.

Healy took charge of the chase from the word go, hitting boundaries against pacers Jhulan Goswami and Meghna Singh effortlessly via drives, flick, late steer and pull. Haynes, on the other hand, swept and sliced Rajeshwari Gayakwad for boundaries before signing off from power-play with a pull off Pooja Vastrakar.

Healy then reached her 14th ODI fifty in 49 balls. The desperation was such from India to get a breakthrough that they emptied their quota of DRS reviews within first 17 overs of defending 277. Healy swept Gayakwad twice for boundaries but in an attempt to reverse-sweep off Sneh Rana, the right-handed batter picked out short third man, falling for 72 as the 121-run opening partnership came to an end.

In the next over, Haynes departed at 43, giving a faint outer edge to keeper Richa Ghosh on a hook off Vastrakar. But captain Meg Lanning kept the scoreboard ticking with her creamy drives and punches while placing the cuts elegantly through square region on the off-side.

Lanning looked assured in sweeping Rana and then punished a wayward Meghna with a slash past backward point followed by a pull over fine leg to reach her fifty in 56 balls. Ellyse Perry dug in her heels before getting her first boundary with a drive through mid-on off a full toss from Jhulan Goswami.

The duo was sharing a stand of 102 off 120 balls when rain interrupted play, with Australia needing 53 runs in 54 balls.

Brief scores: India 277/7 in 50 overs (Mithali Raj 68, Yastika Bhatia 59; Darcie Brown 3/30, Alana King 2/52) vs Australia 225/2 in 41 overs (Meg Lanning 73 not out, Alyssa Healy 72; Pooja Vastrakar 1/28, Sneh Rana 1/56).