Mumbai, Feb.10 (ANI): Australia continued its winning ways at the ICC Women's World Cup India 2013 after securing a nine-wicket win against Sri Lanka and a place in its eighth ICC Women's World Cup final.
Win or lose against the West Indies on 13 February, Jodie Fields' team will appear in the final of the ICC Women's World Cup India 2013 to be held at the Cricket Club of India on 17 February.
At CCI, in front of a lively local crowd, Australia won the toss and put Sri Lanka into bat and Fields' bowling attack was clinical in its approach, dismissing Sri Lanka for just 131 off 45.2 overs.
The only Sri Lankan batter to offer some resistance was Deepika Rasangika who tried to take the attack to the bowlers striking seven fours in her 43.
Her 49-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Dilani Manodara (21) was the highest of the innings.
Off-spinner Erin Osborne did the damage in the middle-order taking three wickets. She finished with superb figures of 10-6-9-3 including 54 dot balls. Along with Manodara, she also dismissed the dangerous Eshani Kaushalya, who was brilliantly caught at mid-wicket by Alex Blackwell.
In reply, Australia looked like they were playing on a different pitch to the one the Sri Lankans had started the day on, as openers Meg Lanning (37) and Rachael Haynes (71 not out) put on 55 in under 10 overs before Lanning was out, edging a ball to slip, off the bowling of Sripali Weerakkody.
Haynes was then joined by Jess Cameron as they finished off the match with more than 27 overs to spare to win by nine wickets and secure Australia its place in its eighth Women's World Cup final.
Sri Lanka captain, Shashikala Siriwardena was obviously disappointed with the loss but said there were positives to take from the tournament with one more Super Six game to go.
"We have done well in the past games, especially with our batters but we needed a good score to do well here so that our bowlers could do what we know they are capable of doing. However, we look to our top five to put runs on the board and perform well to ensure that the middle order has something to work with, that simply hasn't happened in the last couple of games," admitted Siriwardena.
"I expected better from our side today, after we had done so well against India and England but again our batters didn't do well today so now it's about moving forward and focusing on South Africa. I think we need to make sure we get a good score on the board if we bat first, but that will of course depend on our batters improving ahead of that match," said the captain.
Siriwardena also said how much she had enjoyed having the crowd supporting the side today and how much the tournament had showed that Sri Lanka were a side to be reckoned with: "It was a lovely boost to have a crowd today and to have the Sri Lanka supporters in and hopefully our performances here will help us get bigger crowds in Sri Lanka.
"I think this tournament has put the Sri Lanka team on the world stage and the main learning for us is that there isn't such a huge gap between the top four and the rest of the teams. Nobody expected us to beat England and India but we came out here and we've shown people how talented we are as a side, especially with our batting. There are plenty of positives we can take from this event, despite the two recent losses."
Australia's Fields was happy with the way things had gone for the side today, but was focused on the next Super Six match against West Indies and not the final on 17 February.
"We're always looking to improve, in different parts of our game, whether its bowling, batting or fielding and we know that we can't relax ahead of the West Indies game as they've some fantastic players in the likes of Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor.
"I think our bowling and fielding has been our strength during this tournament and especially leading into this West Indies game we need to keep focusing on the positives and continuously improving."
With regards to today's win, Fields was complimentary of her Sri Lankan opponents: "We spoke about how much Sri Lanka had improved ahead of this game and how we wanted to emulate the energy that they bring to the field and we've taken a lot away from them in that sense.
"I think we bowled exceptionally well today, the seamers did well early on and then the spinners came in during the middle overs, Erin Osborne and Lisa Sthalekar, and really did a fantastic job.
"In reply I was happy to see a good opening partnership between Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning before Jess Cameron came in to help Rachael finishing things off for us and get us another win." (ANI)