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Live scores, results, highlights, video, Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry

Who else but Beth Mooney? The experienced left-hander has guided Australian home against India, securing a record World Cup run chase moments after Meg Lanning was cut just short of a century.

Set 278 — the fourth highest women’s World Cup ODI total — Lanning looked set to post her 15th century and see Australia home.

But on 97, the experienced captain picked out cover-point and was forced to go.

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Her dismissal left Australia requiring eight from the final over.

But as cool as a cucumber, Mooney hit a boundary from the first ball and sealed the deal with the third ball as she he hit Jhulan Goswami over her head.

With that, Australia recorded their fifth straight victory to start the tournament and breathed a sigh of relief.

The victory also meant Australia was guaranteed a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

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Australia’s captain Meg Lanning hit 97. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

Australia’s composure in pursuit of the big total once again showed why Lanning’s girls are favourites to win the World Cup, as they lost just four wickets on their way to chasing down India’s formidable total.

A 121-run opening stand between Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy got Australia off to the perfect start after a “sloppy” stint with the ball.

Healy hit her first half-century of the tournament, before hitting back to back boundaries to bring up Australia’s century opening stand.

A double strike to see Healy (72) and Rachael Haynes (43) gave India some hope.

But needing quick wickets, Lanning and all-rounder Perry have steadied the ship and have Australia on track.

Lanning reached her half-century in the 34th over, bringing up the milestone off just 56 deliveries.

A 103-run third-wicket stand between Lanning and Ellyse Perry (28) had Australia requiring 53 off 54 before rain struck.

Perry fell without scoring after play resuming, which brought Mooney to the crease.

In a seesawing contest, India finished with a flurry after a seventh-wicket partnership of 64 between Harmanpreet Kaur (57* off 47) and Pooja Vastrakar (34 of 28) gave the 2017 champions something to defend.

Their rebuild came after India looked likely to throw away their strong start, set up by a third-wicket stand of 130 between Yastika Bhatia (59) and captain Mithali Raj (68).

Australia was kept in the fight by young speed queen Darcie Brown.

Brown brilliance delivers for Aussies | 00:55

The teenager took 3-30 after being recalled for Australia’s fifth match of the tournament.

Brown removed both openers by catching the edge of the India duo.

She first drew the edge of the dangerous Smriti Mandhana (10), who pushed at a ball and was well caught by Lanning.

After Shafali Verma (12) went to town on Megan Schutt, the Indian opener attempted another late cut but this time found the edge of Brown. She was brilliantly caught by Mooney, who plucked the flying ball to leave India reeling.

India then rebuilt through Bhatia and Raj to see them to 2-123 after 26 overs.

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Perry then experienced a case of the wobbles, as she went for 16 from her first over.

The in-form Perry was forced to bowl 12 deliveries, as she struggled to find her line, during a nine-minute over.

“The good thing is there’s a bit of a smirk, she’s trying to relax herself,” former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar said late in her opening over.

“In these situations, if it’s swinging too much and you can’t control it, you can’t get your line, you go cross seam, just get out of the over.

Fans cheer as Mithali Raj of India celebrates her half century against Australia at Eden Park on March 19, 2022 in Auckland. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Sthalekar said she would have given Perry, who previously was in good form, another over to try and find her rhythm and length.

“I’d give her one more. It’s a bit of a gamble, but she’s a class player, has been for such a long period. She has the ability to work through it.”

Former England captain Nasser Hussain agreed: “If it was a real inexperienced (player), someone making their debut, you’d put your arm around her and look after her. But being Ellyse Perry, you’d probably back her and say, ‘Come on, we know you’re better than that.’”

Needing a wicket, Lanning turned back to her fast bowler and Brown delivered as she managed to remove Bhatia for 59 and break the 130-run partnership.

The left-hander picking out Perry on the point boundary as she charged the quick.

Perry was once again in the action soon after, as the captain fell for a well made 96-ball 68 as she swept King to the square boundary.

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Ellyse Perry struggled in her opening over at Eden Park on March 19, 2022 in Auckland. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

And when King had Richa Ghosh (8) stumped and Jess Jonassen bowled Sneh Rana for a duck, Australia had India 6-213 and in a vulnerable position.

But some strong, late hitting by Kaur particularly and some poor fielding brought India back.

“Australia started well, they were a little sloppy after that,” Hussain reflected.

“There were loads of wides and misfields.”

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