Women's T20 World Cup: Australia escape massive scare against Sri Lanka to keep tournament alive

Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning have saved Australia from an early World Cup exit, with a match-winning partnership in Monday's five-wicket T20 triumph over Sri Lanka.

Chasing 123 for victory in Perth on Monday, Australia crashed to 10/3 in the fourth over, after Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney and Ashleigh Gardner all fell for single figures.

Defeat would have all-but ended Australia's World Cup title defence, after their opening loss to India last Friday.

But the tournament favourites dug deep to pull off a face-saving win, with Haynes (60 off 47 balls) and Lanning (41 not  out off 44 balls) combining for a 95-run stand.

Haynes received a slice of luck on 26, when she was dropped at mid-on by Umesha Thimashini.

Australia would have fallen to 59/4 if the catch had stuck, but the missed opportunity came back to haunt Sri Lanka.

Haynes, who was given out leg before wicket on 15, before having the decision reversed on review, struck consecutive sixes in the 16th over to well and truly swing the match Australia's way.

Australia then needed just 26 runs off the final four overs and snuck home with three balls to spare.

Playing her 100th T20 international, skipper Lanning was a rock under the fiercest of pressure, combining brilliantly with vice-captain Haynes.

Udeshika Prabodhani's swinging left-arm deliveries caused Australia all sorts of problems early, with Healy unable to believe her bad luck, when the second ball she faced swung and seamed wickedly to knock over the stumps.

In Prabodhani's next over, Gardner also had her castle demolished.

Things looked dire for Australia, when Mooney was stumped off a viciously spinning delivery from Shashikala Siriwardena.

Their title defence was hanging by a thread - an unthinkable situation.

The home side crawled to 19/3 from their six-over powerplay, but Lanning and Haynes steadily increased the run rate to ensure the hosts always remained within striking distance.

Earlier, Sri Lanka opener Chamari Atapattu cracked 50 off 38 balls to lift her side to 122/6.

Atapattu struck seven fours and two sixes in her quickfire knock, with Anushka Sanjeewani (25) and Umesha Thimashini (20) also chipping in handy scores.

Molly Strano (23/2) and Nicola Carey (18/2) snared two wickets apiece for Australia.

Meanwhile, India remained unbeaten with a 18-run win over Bangladesh in Perth, and need just one win against either New Zealand or Sri Lanka to qualify for the knockout stages.