Australia put themselves squarely in the hunt for an ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final spot, after they defeated India by seven wickets in their Super Sixes clash at the North-West University Oval on Saturday. 

Rhys McKenna won the toss and chose to bowl first, as the Aussies looked to hit the ground running. The decision paid dividends, and India were dismissed for 87. 

Shweta Sehrawat (21 from 29 balls) was the best of India's batters, striking three boundaries against the new ball, but she lost her partners all too often, as Milly Illingworth struck twice in the early stages. 

Maggie Clarke came on and did a similar trick, getting rid of Sonia Medhiya (2) and the dangerous Richa Ghosh (7) in quick succession. India continued to lose key wickets, and Sehrawat was the fifth victim midway through the 11th over. Hrishita Basu (14 off 23 balls) and Titas Sadhu (14 off 13 balls) tried to give themselves a total to defend, but it was not enough. 

In contrast, Australia's chase saw every batter find the fence on at least one occasion. Sianna Ginger (11) and Kate Pelle (17 off 13 balls) added a quick 28 for the opening stand, and that put the nerves at ease in their dugout. 

Though the opening duo and Ella Hayward (7) fell before the end, Claire Moore (25 not out) and Amy Smith (26 not out) had enough freedom to finish with a flourish. Both hit sixes with victory in sight, as Australia cantered home with 37 balls in hand.

Having lost one of their group matches to Bangladesh, Australia brought two points to the second stage of the competition, two less than leaders India and Bangladesh. The win on Saturday draws them level with India and gives them a real chance of claiming a place in the final four following a big victory over UAE on Monday. 

India, meanwhile, have a date with Sri Lanka on Sunday afternoon. They will know that nothing less than a victory will do, if they are to stay in the chase for the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup trophy. 

Scores in brief: 

Toss: Australia, who chose to bowl first. 

India 87 all out in 18.5 overs (Shweta Sehrawat 21, Hrishita Basu 14, Titas Sadhu 14, Sianna Ginger three for 13, Milly Illingworth two for 12, Maggie Clark two for 18)

Australia 88 for three in 13.5 overs (Amy Smith 26 not out, Claire Moore 25 not out, Kate Pelle 17)

Australia won by seven wickets.