SHOCK WIN: India's Shikha Pandey and Mona Meshram celebrate after dismissing Australia's Ellyse Perry.
SHOCK WIN: India's Shikha Pandey and Mona Meshram celebrate after dismissing Australia's Ellyse Perry. Rui Vieira

Ferling is missed as Aussies bow out

Cricket: It was the loss that sent shockwaves through the cricketing world.

The all-conquering Australian Women's Cricket Team was expected to walk into the ICC World Cup and leave unopposed with their third-consecutive trophy in-tow.

Instead, led by Harmanpreet Kaur's remarkable 171 not-out, India caused the biggest boil over in recent memory to send the Aussies packing one game short of the final.

Inspirational skipper Meg Lanning was held to a duck and Ellyse Perry struggled to fire, as the Indian pace attack took it up to the more-fancied Australian batting line-up.

Alex Blackwell and Elyse Villani toiled gamely for the Aussies, but they had too-few in support as India prevailed by 36 runs and booked their place in the final against England.

The cracks in the Aussie armour started to show in their three-run loss to England in the group stages. But comprehensive wins against India and South Africa immediately following put the gloss on what would prove to be their Achilles heel.

The Aussies bat deeper than any other country and there is no comparison in that regard, but with Rene Farrell's retirement and Holly Ferling's lingering elbow injury, Australia was left well-short on bowling options.

Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning were again impressive, with the former notching five scores of 50+ in the tournament and the latter belting 152 not-out against Sri Lanka to will her side home.

Openers Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney regularly set the tempo, combining for four partnerships of 50+ and two of 100+, including a massive 171-run stand against the West Indies.

But part-timers Villani and Bolton were called on more than coach Matthew Mott would have liked, and he leaned heavily on Perry to take the crucial wickets when Ashleigh Gardner and Kristen Beams were resting.

It was a problem highlighted by Sri Lanka's Chamari Athapaththu, whose record-breaking 178 not-out would have gained far more attention had Lanning not put the Aussies on her back with her own monster total.

Put simply, the dominance of the Aussies at the crease meant the significance of Ferling and Farrell's absences was not felt until it was too late.

At their best, the Australian Women's Cricket Team is the premier international team on the planet. But against a rampant Kaur in career-best form and an almost unprecedented poor showing from the best batting tandem in women's world cricket, Ferling's importance to the team became obvious.