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Indian title hopes dashed
- Women's World Cup
Australia clinch fifth crown with 98-run win

Centurion: Indian women's dreams of winning their first World Cup came down crashing after they suffered a comprehensive 98-run defeat against Australia in the final in Centurion on Sunday.

After Australia posted a challenging 215 for four in their allotted 50 overs, the Indians were never really in the hunt, losing wickets at regular intervals to be skittled out for 117 in 46 overs at the Super Sport Park.

The eves suffered a similar fate as their male counterparts, who had lost to Australia in the men's World Cup final two years back.

This was Australia's fifth World Cup title, having missed the previous one in 2000 losing narrowly against New Zealand in the final.

India's run chase was marred by as many as four run outs even though the Australians reined in the batswomen with some tight bowling.

Anju Jain top scored with a 52-ball 29 and the next best score came from tail-ender Amita Sharma, who made 22.

Earlier, Karen Rolton, declared Player of the Series as well as the match, cracked an unbeaten century as Australia posted a challenging total.

Rolton hit a rousing 107 not out off 128 balls with 11 fours to pull the Australian women out of early trouble when they were reduced to 31 for two after electing to bat.

Rolton, who was dropped on 62, was well supported by India-born New South Wales batswoman Lisa Sthalekar, who hit a 75-ball 55 with two fours.

Rolton became only the second woman ever to make a century in a World Cup final. England's Enid Bakewell achieved the feat in the inaugural edition in 1973.

Medium pacer Amita Sharma gave Mithali Raj's India the first breakthrough when she dismissed the 35-year old Aussie captain Belinda Clark caught behind for 19 in the eight over. Clark was in dangerous mood as she struck three fours in her 33-ball knock before she fell to Sharma.

Bengal bowler Jhulan Goswami then had Lisa Keightley two overs later after the latter had made a subdued five off 19 balls.

But Rolton was defiant as she first added 40 runs for the third wicket with Melanie Jones (17) to steer the ship out of danger, before launching her assault on the hapless bowlers in the final overs.

India had a terrible start, losing opener Jaya Sharma in the eigth over with 14 runs on the board. Then, after a brief period of calm, came the four run outs that sealed their fate.

Jaya Sharma, Anjum Chopra, Rumeli Dhar and Hemlata Kala all fell victim to injudicious running and some fine ground fielding by the Australians as the Indians slumped from 54 for two to 66 for six in no time.

Shelley Nitschke dealt a double-blow that hastened the end. (PTI)

 

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