Australia dodge rain and hold nerve to beat South Africa and reach Women’s World T20 final | Sport

Australia overcame a double threat presented by both the weather and a stiff South African challenge to book their place in Sunday’s Women’s Twenty20 World Cup final with a rain-affected five-run win on a night of high drama at a soggy SCG.

England exited the tournament earlier in the day in cruel fashion as rain washed out their game with not a single ball bowled, leaving India to progress to the MCG final by default.

But Australia avoided the same fate in a nerve-jangling second semi-final after taking advantage of a brief break in the inclement weather to bat out their 20 overs.

A tidy South African bowling attack, headlined by Nadine de Klerk with figures of 3-19, restricted the hosts to 134-5 but after a further rain delay, it proved a defendable total with South Africa set a DLS-adjusted 98 to win from 13 overs.

Australia’s bowlers ripped into the South African top order and had them on the ropes at 3-24 before some fine shotmaking from Sune Luus and Laura Wolvaardt made a game of it.

South Africa reached 66-3 after 10 overs – the minimum numbers of overs required to be faced by each side for a result to be made possible – but Australia’s bowlers applied just enough pressure to ensure the chase fell short as the rain began to fall again.

Earlier, Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney put on 34 for Australia’s first wicket before Healy chipped to midwicket for 18. De Klerk excelled with her three dismissals, including the key wickets of Mooney (28) and Ash Gardner (0).

It was left to Meg Lanning to anchor the innings; the captain ended unbeaten just one shy of another 50 after she and Rachael Haynes (17) upped the scoring rate towards the end of the innings.

Australia will now meet India in front of a big crowd at the MCG, where Lanning’s side will hope to gain a degree of revenge for their opening day defeat to India – and secure a fifth World Cup title.

Geoff Lemon’s full report from the SCG to follow.

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