England will face India in the Women’s World Cup final after Harmanpreet Kaur’s century inspired the underdogs to a 36-run semi-final victory over Australia.
Kaur produced the best innings by an Indian cricketer in a World Cup knockout fixture with an unbeaten 171 at Derby’s County Ground as they made 281 for four against the defending champions.
Following the rain delay that removed eight overs from the scheduled 50, India made an underwhelming start as they lost both openers for 35 runs inside 10 overs.
Kaur built some momentum in a 66-run partnership with India captain Mithali Raj and then accelerated to help India smash 81 from their last six overs, taking her boundary haul to 20 fours and seven sixes.
Australia then made a similarly unconvincing start, but Alex Blackwell’s 90 from 56 balls took them into contention for another final before they were bowled out for 245 with 11 balls remaining.
Sunday’s World Cup final, at Lord’s, represents India’s second after their defeat by Australia in 2005.
They also unexpectedly overcame opponents England in last month’s group match.