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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
India upset NZ in World Cup semi
Women's World Cup semi-final, Potchefstroom:
India 204-6 (50 overs) beat New Zealand 164 (43.3 overs) by 40 runs

Mithali Raj
Raj lifted India's scoring rate at the end of their innings

India reached the Women's World Cup final for the first time after captain Mithali Raj inspired them to a 40-run victory over holders New Zealand.

Rachel Pullar took 4-39 for the Kiwis but India reached 204-6 thanks to Raj's 91 not out, which included nine fours.

New Zealand slumped to 37-4 in reply and although Maria Fahey battled to an unbeaten 73, they were all out for 164.

Amita Sharma and Nooshin Al Khadeer each took three wickets, with keeper Anju Jain claiming three stumpings.

Raj's team will now face Australia in Sunday's final - a repeat of the 2003 men's World Cup, which also took place in South Africa.

But she was forced to watch most of New Zealand's innings from the sidelines after injuring her knee.

New Zealand beat India by 16 runs in the group phase of the tournament and their pre-match confidence was illustrated when Maia Lewis chose to field first after winning the toss in Potchefstroom.

After a rain interruption at the end of the opening over, Pullar made the initial breakthrough Jaya Sharma was caught for a duck. New ball partner Louise Milliken snapped up Jain, who went for 11 when she edged a catch to keeper Rebecca Rolls, but she proved expensive in the closing overs as India stepped up the pace.

Raj and Chopra stabilised the innings after the early setbacks, mixing solid defence with some stylish strokes before the latter was caught for 44 off Rebecca Steele, whose well-flighted left-arm spin brought her figures of 1-31.

Rumali Dhar and Amita Sharma did not last long, but Raj reached her half century off 64 deliveries and found an enterprising partner in Hemlata Kala, who was not afraid to loft the ball over the in-field.

She made 18 off 19 balls before hitting a catch to Milliken off Pullar and Jhulan Goswami added an unbeaten 11 off seven deliveries as she and Raj took the total past 200.

The White Ferns were soon on the back foot in reply as Jaya Sharma's throw from backward point ran out Aimee Mason.

Rebecca Steele
Rebecca Steele celebrates a wicket for New Zealand

Amita Sharma bowled an excellent line in her opening spell and pierced Rolls' defence with a perfect yorker, but it was the introduction of Al Khadeer's off-spin which really undermined New Zealand's chances.

Lewis was stumped for 13 as she lunged forward and two balls later Rumali Dhar moved to her right at slip to catch Haidee Tiffen for 11.

Sarah McGlashan (23) helped Fahey add 61 but it took them 26 overs and she became slow left-armer Neetu David's 18th victim of the tournament as Jain produced another smart piece of work behind the stumps.

Helen Watson and Pullar both made 14, but could not support Fahey for long enough as New Zealand found themselves needing 55 off the last 10 overs.

They only survived three and a half of them as Jhulan Goswami wrapped things up by bowling Steele off the inside edge.

Steele was later given an official reprimand for throwing her bat to the ground after being dismissed.

Amita Sharma finished with 3-24 from nine overs, with Al Khadeer returning 3-39 from her full allocation.

India: M Raj (capt), A Jain (wkt), J Sharma, A Chopra, R Dhar, H Kala, A Sharma, J Goswami, N David, D Marathe, N Al Khadeer.

New Zealand: M Lewis (capt), A Mason, R Rolls (wkt), H Tiffen, S McGlashan, M Fahey, H Watson, N Browne, R Pullar, L Milliken, R Steele.

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