Outstanding performances from Australia's bowlers sealed a decisive 28-run victory over the West Indies in the second semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 on another low and slow pitch at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia survived a few scares to post 115 for 7, and then picked up key wickets at crucial moments to ensure that the West Indies' chase never gathered real momentum.
Julie Hunter starred with 22 for 5 in the 28-run victory, but it was Ellyse Perry, the double international who has also represented Australia in football, who struck the decisive blows, snaring the key wickets of Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin.
The West Indies opened with spin, and its bowling attack dominated the opening overs. Shanel Daley bowled Alyssa Healy in the first over for nought and then danger-woman Jess Cameron in the third. Cameron struck 11 from 11, including the first six of the match. Opener Meg Lanning kept the Australian innings together, scoring at almost a run a ball to notch up 19.
A fourth-wicket stand of 32 runs between Lisa Sthalekar and Alex Blackwell led Australia to 4 for 68, before Shemaine Campbelle took a spectacular catch to dismiss Sthalekar (23) in the 13th over. Blackwell was caught and bowled for 21 by 16-year-old Shaquana Quintyne, leaving captain Jodie Fields and Rachael Haynes to bring up the team's century in the 19th over.
Australia went for broke in the final over, scoring 12 runs despite losing two wickets. Haynes smashed a six before being run out for 15, and, two balls later, Erin Osborne was run out for one run. Hunter hit three off the last delivery to bring the Australian total to 115 for seven.
Daley and Quintyne were the pick of the West Indies bowlers, picking up two wickets each.
Chasing 116 for victory, West Indies lost key wickets early. Taylor was bowled by Perry in the third over, having made just three runs from 11 deliveries.
Captain Merissa Aguilleira was also dismissed cheaply, bowled by an outswinger from Hunter, and power-hitter Dottin fell for six when Perry was brought back for a second spell. Five balls later, Campbelle was run out as Perry deflected a Juliana Nero drive onto the non-striker's stumps, and Campbelle had forgotten to ground her bat, leaving the West Indies at 28-4.
A 48-run fifth wicket partnership between opener Nero (31) and Daley (25) provided West Indies with some hope, but when Nero was dismissed, 38 runs were still required off the last three overs.
The last four wickets fell for the addition of just nine runs, and the West Indies was all out for 87. Hunter snared five wickets for 22 runs, and Perry took two for 19.
Disappointed with the loss, Aguilleira rued her side's ability to play its best in every game. "That's one of the problems we face - consistency," said Aguilleira. "On a given day, West Indies will show up and beat any side. It's a mental thing. We have a good team, one that can carry us through and win World Cups."
While happy with her side's bowling, the West Indies captain was disappointed with the batting: "The score that they made was gettable. We must say that we fell short in our batting. That was our downfall. It's an area we need to look at. We have time once we get back home to get ourselves organised and focus on what we have to do."
Australian skipper Fields agreed that the bowling dominated the day: "It would have been nice to get more runs, around 140. But we bowled very well and I'm happy that we were able to restrict them.
"The West Indies girls bowled really well in those conditions. Their spinners slowed it right up and made it difficult to score down the ground. You had to resort to shots square of the wicket. I thought we did well to get to 115 after a pretty disastrous start."
When asked about the lack of big scores from players throughout the tournament, Fields didn't appear concerned. "I'm actually pretty happy with our batting throughout the tournament," she said.
"While we haven't had anyone with big scores, we've always had guys come in and keep the scoreboard ticking over. We'll see what happens in the final. Hopefully, one of those girls will click and we'll get a big score."
The result sets up an England versus Australia final that will see the resumption of women's cricket's oldest rivalry.