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Traditional rivals battle it out for top semi-finals spots

CONSISTENT FORM: Australia's Ellyse Perry scored 60 runs in her side's win over India - her fourth 50 in a row during the ICC Women's World Cup.
CONSISTENT FORM: Australia's Ellyse Perry scored 60 runs in her side's win over India - her fourth 50 in a row during the ICC Women's World Cup. SUPPLIED

WITH one round left in the group stage of the World Cup it's still anyone's guess as to how the semi-finals will look.

Just two teams, England and Australia, have secured their spot, while South Africa, India and New Zealand will battle it out for the other two places in Saturday's super round of matches.

Even then, the final one to four positions are dependent on Saturday's results with England and Australia separated by net run rate only at the top on 10 points, South Africa, India and New Zealand just behind them on nine, eight and seven points respectively.

It makes for a blockbuster finish for the women's World Cup and certainty all nations will be playing to win come Saturday.

How the Aussies fared

Australia was much improved in their game against India on Wednesday, turning around a poor bowling performance against England.

That match saw the Aussies bowl a massive 32 extras, 23 being wides, but bowled a tournament-best five extras against India.

Captain Meg Lanning won the toss and sent the Indians in to bat and they kept a tight rein on India, who managed a reasonable 226 by innings-end.

A 157-run partnership from opener Punam Raut and captain Mithali Raj wasn't enough to help India to victory as Australia made easy work of the target and finished the match with five overs to spare for an eight-wicket win.

It was a memorable innings for the two though, Raut (106) recording her second ODI 100, while Raj's 69 made her the highest female ODI runscorer, moving to 6028.

The Australians went out and put up some milestones of their own. After openers Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton put on a steady opening partnership of 57, superstars Meg Lanning (76*) and Ellyse Perry (60*) finished it off, adding another 100-plus partnership to their record.

Lanning went past 5000 career runs and fell one short of 3000 ODI runs, while it was Perry's fourth 50 in a row this tournament.

Perry also improved with the ball, returning 2-37, capably supported by Megan Schutt with 2-52.

What else you need to know

South Africa had another blitzing, this time disposing of Sri Lanka in little time. Dane van Niekerk continues to destroy with the ball, taking her third four-for this tournament with figures of 4-24. Shabnim Ismail took 3-14 as the Proteas held Sri Lanka to just 101 runs.

They continue to be the form bowling unit of the World Cup. They dismissed West Indies for 48 earlier in the tournament.

England recorded a dominant win over New Zealand, dismissing them for 209 after posting another huge score of 285 to start the match.

 

Opener Tammy Beaumont set England on the path to victory over New Zealand with an impressive 93 runs.
Opener Tammy Beaumont set England on the path to victory over New Zealand with an impressive 93 runs. Nathan Stirk

The other match was a dead rubber between West Indies and Pakistan in which the Windies continued with a late rediscovery of form. After disappointing many with a poor batting performance in their opening matches, they've since put together two wins in a row.

Deandra Dottin made 104 while Stafanie Taylor added 90 and Pakistan didn't have the talent to make the 286-run chase, but lost on Duckworth-Lewis after rain affected the game.

Who's next?

All four matches will take place on Saturday to decide final standings.

Australia head to Taunton to play South Africa, their third tough match in as many games and one that will have a big impact on the semi-finals.

South Africa have been in incredible form with the ball and made easy work of a number of batting orders but will have their biggest test against Australia this weekend.

The Aussies have two of the best batters in the world in Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry and with the likes of Ashleigh Gardner and Jess Jonassen coming in at the tail, the work is never really done when playing them.

Australia maintain their only concern is getting the win and whether they play their final in Bristol or Derby is of no concern.

 

India's Punam Raut scored 106 in her side's loss to Australia.
India's Punam Raut scored 106 in her side's loss to Australia. SUPPLIED

A loss for England and a win for Australia would hand the Aussies a top spot finish, but if both win it will be decided by net run rate.

India and New Zealand battle for fourth place when they play in Derby. Both are coming off losses but the edge would lie with the Kiwis. The Indian batters have struggled for form in recent matches and they had a poor performance in the field against Australia, misfields leading to at least 20 runs for the Aussies.

New Zealand have some talented young bowlers and plenty of batting talent and would be confident of victory.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan will face off in Leicester, the winner to earn their first win of the World Cup and relegate the other to a winless tournament.

Australia v South Africa starts Saturday, July 15 at 7.30pm (AEST). Live on Fox Sports.

Topics:  australia cricket ellyse perry england

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