Cricket 2023: Australia reach seventh straight T20 World Cup final, Harmanpreet Kaur freak run out

Australia have reached a seventh straight T20 World Cup final after a thrilling victory over India in Cape Town, continuing a streak of tournament final victories over the Indians that dates back to the 2020 edition of the tournament.

Australia’s women, rebounding from the end of an era of dominance almost unmatched in any sport, entered the fixture hot favourites to book themselves into yet another final, particularly with India’s talismanic captain Harmanpreet Kaur in doubt for the fixture.

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India have not defeated Australia in T20 internationals since their astonishing upset at the 2020 World Cup, and with 172 on the board, a score never chased down in a Women’s T20 World Cup, the pressure was completely on the Indians, who have never won any silverware before.

Kaur, so often India’s heroine, came to the crease at 3/28 and put on 69 for the fourth wicket with young gun Jemimah Rodrigues.

She eventually departed with a half century to her name leaving India needing 40 off the final 26 balls.

Kaur was run out on an otherwise straightforward single after her bat plugged in the turf.

Australia are so used to steamrolling their opponents that when rare pressure moments arrive, it is absolutely felt.

Kaur’s class is such that some of Australia’s most senior players made mistakes around her, faced with the prospect of World Cup success not being inevitable for the first time.

Meg Lanning fluffed a run out that would have had Kaur gone within her first twenty deliveries, while Alyssa Healy dropped two catches and Tahlia McGrath had Kaur caught off a free hit.

Ellyse Perry was only given the one over, and was taken to the cleaners for figures of 0/14, while Jess Jonassen’s death over was taken for 10.

It would come down to a little bit of luck for the Australians, and as player of the match Ash Gardner said afterwards, experience will always “find a way.”

Off the back of Kaur and Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma and Richa Ghosh took India close, but eventually fell agonisingly short by six runs.

“We had no right to win it,” Gardner admitted.

“They were cruising, and then we found a way to get some wickets. We scrapped. We fought hard right to the end.”

Speaking after the game, a visibly upset Kaur spoke of her huge disappointment of failing to win a game that had seemed in India’s grasp.

“Can’t feel unluckier than this,” she said.

“We got the momentum back… to lose from there, we weren’t expecting this. The way I got run out, can’t be unluckier than that.

“Putting the effort was important and we were happy to go to the last ball. We wanted to fight until the last ball.”

Australia will defend their crown on Sunday against either England or South Africa.

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