Australia surge into World T20 final
AUSTRALIA dominated the host nation West Indies to book a spot in Sunday morning's (AEST) World T20 final with the commanding performance sure to make the Australians favourite to claim a fourth title.
A brilliant batting cameo from Rachael Haynes and a superb bowling performance by Ellyse Perry propelled Australia to a 71-run win over the West Indies in the 18th over.
On a slow wicket at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, the Aussies were sent in by the West Indies and started well, buoyed by the selection of concussion victim Alyssa Healy. A terrific batting performance, which at times appeared slow was in fact well-paced, with the Aussies putting on 47 runs in the last five overs with the benefit of wickets in hand.
Healy again delivered with 46 off 38. Haynes came to the crease in the 17th over with Australia 4-109 and posted 25 off 15 balls to lead Australia to 5-142.
The West Indies slumped to 4-27 with Perry claiming the crucial wickets of danger players Deandra Dottin (6) and Shemaine Campbelle (7).
Australia will play either India or England in Sunday's 10am (AEST) final.
The knock of a leader
Rachael Haynes has been a revelation since she was welcomed back into the Australian fold and today she held her head high.
She lives by the team's trademark and was fearless as her teammates again fell around her. She whacked West Indies spinner Deandra Dottin for three fours in the 19th over as Australia's run rate rose to seven, the highest it had been since the third over.
Haynes made 25 off 15 balls and helped Australia to a good total in the conditions. She came to the crease with Australia 4-109 and was still standing at the end.
Perry good at shining on the big stage
Ellyse Perry didn't get a bat until the 18th over and would have been biting her lip in frustration as some of her teammates mucked about in the middle.
She made three off three balls, but her impact was yet to come.
Given the white ball in the third over, she opened her campaign with a wicket maiden. Perry had Deandra Dottin playing on and the West Indies slumped to 2-15.
The all-rounder felt the momentum swing the way of the Aussies and she released a loud "come on" after the important wicket.
With the last ball of her second over she teamed with Sophie Molineux to have Shemaine Campbelle caught at square leg.
She ended the game with figures of 2-2 off two overs.
Healy's quick return
What a star Alyssa Healy is. Just six days after being concussed after a collision with fast bowler Megan Schutt, the laidback golfer from North Curl Curl took her mark and opened the batting for her country.
She pulled a ball in front of square for four in the first over. It was just the second ball she'd faced. Soon after she hit a brutish six over mid-off.
In fourth over on 16 she was given a chance by Chinelle Henry who couldn't get a hand on the ball racing from mid off.
On 27 in the eight over a thick outside edge almost cost her, but it was too touch for the keeper to grab.
Healy unleashed in the 12th over: a reverse sweep for four and then the next ball a more traditional sweep to the ropes but four balls later she to edged an attempted sweep and was caught at short fine leg.
She hit 46 off 38.
She then turned to her glasses for the first time in this tournament as dusk fell on Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and she knelt behind the stumps.
When West Indies batter Britney Cooper skied the ball, Healy let everyone know it was hers, to avoid a repeat of her collision against India, and the ball fell safely into her gloves. And boy did she enjoy it.
Deandra Dottin goes missing
The West Indies hard nut is so erratic.
After her first over, where she had Australian captain Meg Lanning cramped for room and bowled, she looked a genius with figures of 1-6 and had me asking how she doesn't have a WBBL contract this season?
But Rachael Haynes carted her the very next over and she went for 17 runs.
She opened the batting and her shocking night continued, chopping an Ellyse Perry in swinger onto her stumped for just six runs.
It wasn't the night for her to be off.