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Women's Cricket

Women's T20 World Cup: Australia rout NZ by 97 runs to begin title defence

Australia began their Women's T20 World Cup title defence on a resounding note with a comfortable 97-run win over Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.

Alyssa Healy

Alyssa Healy (Source: ICC)



Updated: 12 Feb 2023 6:01 AM GMT

Australia began their Women's T20 World Cup title defence on a resounding note with a comfortable 97-run win over Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.

Alyssa Healy made 55, her highest score in the format since the 2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup Final, while captain Meg Lanning (41) and Ellyse Perry (40) also contributed with the bat as Australia racked up a competitive 173 for nine after being asked to bat on Saturday.

New Zealand endured a forgetful start as Suzie Bates was dismissed with the first ball of their reply and then kept losing wickets in a heap to be bowled out for 76 in 14 overs.

Gardner was the chief destroyer with a sublime spell of 5/12, her best T20I bowling figures, as the five-time champions started off with a dominant victory.

Beth Mooney only lasted two balls as she poked unconvincingly at Lea Tahuhu and Eden Carson flew to her right to pouch a stunning catch at backward point. Healy and Lanning clubbed together and guided Australia to 47 for one from six overs, their best-ever powerplay score against New Zealand at the T20 World Cup.

They assembled a 70-run stand for the second wicket until Amelia Kerr tucked up Lanning and she was bowled playing a cut shot to a straight delivery. Tahuhu found Gardner's leading edge in the next over, Carson taking a simple catch to make it 76 for three.

Healy and Perry took over, and raced to a 50 partnership in just 28 balls. Healy perished when she was deceived by Tahuhu's slower ball and caught on the fence.

Perry and Grace Harris' 8-ball 22-run partnership promised fireworks but fizzled out when the latter was run out on 14. Perry kept swinging, lifting Amelia Kerr over the cover boundary, but she was dismissed a ball later and then Jess Jonassen departed for a two-ball duck in the same over.

There was a late flurry of wickets as Alana King and Tahlia McGrath came and went in the last two overs.

The start of the Kiwi reply was a surreal one. Megan Schutt bowled five wides with the first ball and with the second, bowled Bates who went down for an improbable scoop. Both openers were dismissed within the over as skipper Sophie Devine was trapped LBW.

Bernadine Bezuidenhout and Amelia Kerr briefly stabilised the innings. Bezuidenhout reverse swept Jonassen to the fence before departing for 14, caught by Darcie Brown off Perry.

The White Ferns sunk to 37 for four after Maddy Green was run out. Kerr was the next to go, bowled by Gardner.

The slide continued as Hayley Jensen chipped tamely to midwicket before Tahuhu and Rowe were accounted for by Gardner in quick succession.

New Zealand lost three wickets for four runs in 11 balls with Gardner taking the final two wickets in the 14th over.

Brief Scores: Australia 173 for nine in 20 overs (Alyssa Healy 55, Ellyse Perry 40; Amelia Kerr 3/23, Lea Tahuhu 3/37) beat New Zealand 76 all out in 14 overs (Amelia Kerr 21, Bernadine Bezuidenhout 14; Ashleigh Gardner 5/12, Megan Schutt 2/8).

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