India on Saturday came tantalisingly close to breaking Australia’s unbeaten run in the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup before falling short and young batter Yastika Bhatia said had they picked up some early wickets, the end result could have been different. India’s path to the semifinals got a lot tougher after they lost by six wickets to Australia, their third defeat in the showpiece, as the Meg Lanning-led side became the first team to qualify for the last four stage with a record chase in the tournament’s history.
Half-centuries from skipper Mithali Raj (68 off 96 balls), Yastika (59 off 83) and Harmanpreet Kaur (57 not out off 47) steered India to 277 for seven, but Australia rode on openers Alyssa Healy (72 off 65), Rachael Haynes (43 off 52) and Lanning’s (97 off 107) knocks to cruise to their fifth win in as many games.
“They (Australia) have been playing superb cricket, everyone in their team takes responsibility,” left-handed Yastika said in the post-match media interaction.
“It was Meg Lanning (97) who just took it on herself to take the team over the line. Her intent quite clear from the beginning, though she got out. Still, we came pretty close, it could have gone either way, we could have crossed the line.” India, runners-up in 2017 edition, had eliminated Australia en route to the final.
And Yastika said despite their ominous form, Australia are a beatable side.
“It’s nothing like they can’t be beaten. We can do it for sure. Our team is really good, we can do it in the semis or finals,” the 21-year-old said.
“I think it was a defendable total. Credit to the Aussie batters the way they started. Healy and Hyanes started aggressively.
“We would have liked to take more wickets in the power play but they played really well. That (early wickets) would have turned the game but they played really well,” she added.
The Mithali Raj-led India now have a tough task at hand as they must win their remaining two matches against South Africa and Bangladesh to keep their semifinal hopes alive.
Against Australia, India missed a sixth bowler as they opted for Shafali Verma in place of Deepti Sharma.
India also did not use the part-time off-spin of Harmanpreet on Saturday.
“She’s (Harmanpreet) bowling in the nets. We had it in our mind that we can use her in the middle overs but I don’t know what the captain had in her mind. But she will bowl for sure in our future matches,” Yastika said.
India will next face Bangladesh at Hamilton on Tuesday, before taking on South Africa in their concluding league match on March 27.