MATCH REPORT : Australia v South Africa

Australia brought their A game to Taunton to beat South Africa by a comfortable margin of 56 runs, despite once again being without their skipper, Meg Lanning. As before Rachel Haynes stepped up to take the captaincy role, and even batted at three and brought herself on to bowl.

The first thing she did was win the toss and she mysteriously decided to bat, but as Beth Mooney (53) and Nicole Bolton (79) compiled a chanceless opening partnership of 114 and the rain blew over the Quantock Hills in the distance, it didn't seem like such a bad idea after all. There were few demons in the pitch and the Proteas attack lacked any real threat.

When Mooney succumbed to a straight ball from Khaka in the 22nd over you could see the frustration on her face. A wasted opportunity. It was a look that was to be mirrored by several more Aussies.

Haynes came and went, and then Bolton slapped a horrible full toss from Sune Luus to mid-off. Villani followed next ball helping another full toss around her own legs to be bowled. The fact that Luus finished with figures of 5/67 had very little to do with the pitch. Most of the time she failed to use it or if she did it was halfway down. But like lemmings the Aussies found ways to get out to her. This included Ellyse Perry who was on 55 at the time - half-tracker to midwicket; Ashley Gardner - good length ball hit to long off; and Alyssa Healy - full toss to long off after having hit the previous three balls for 4.

Eventually the Aussies were all out in the 49th over for 269, which looked like a par score.

South Africa needed a good start and Laura Wolvaardt (71) gave it to them with some sumptuous drives as Australia bowled far too full to her. Lizelle Lee watched from the other end and had just hit a couple of boundaries herself when she slogged Jonassen high to mid off. Wolvaardt and Trisha Chetty (37) then kept the score ticking over, but could not find the boundaries they needed to keep up with the required rate. Eventually the pressure told and Chetty was run out by a sprawling Perry on the deep square leg boundary, looking for a second which was there had there been no hesitation.

At 128/2 after 30 overs Haynes felt confident enough to bring herself on to bowl - left arm medium pace around the wicket. Her first ball was a full toss and Mignon du Preez obligingly hit it to Gardner at deep midwicket. When Wolvaardt did the same thing to a short ball in Haynes next over, South Africa were in trouble.

Four wickets in three overs sealed the deal, although Marizanne Kapp can count herself exceptionally unlucky to have been given run out when she looked to have been well in. Shabnim Ismail (26) decided she was not going down without a fight, but South Africa were bowled out off the last ball of their innings for 210.

With India spanking New Zealand it meant that South Africa will travel to Bristol to meet England in the semi-final, while Australia must travel up to Derby to play India. The games are on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

Comments

  1. This should be known as the game of full-tosses, so prevalent a part they played in it. They can occasionally be a useful surprise especially in women's cricket but here it seems they were just mis-bowled and misplayed by the batsmen as well. I know the Taunton pitch doesn't offer too much for bowlers, but yikes, very strange. I think Australia would have been looking for 300 seeing as they were almost 230 with 10 overs left, but they fell away at the end. SA like you said had a good start to their chase, but then started to get behind the rate and lost too many wickets. It will be extremely interesting to see what happens in the second semi-final at Derby on Thursday - something has to give - either India or Australia who both played well again today will be heading back home. With it being quite a slow, turning pitch I think Australia might find it quite difficult, and India surely have as good a chance as they could hope for, but the Aussies probably have enough to see themselves into the final. Unless of course India put on another great performance.

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