Australia v South Africa, Women's World Cup, Taunton July 15, 2017

Australia defend 269, play India in semi-final

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Australia women 269 (Bolton 79, Perry 55, Luus 5 for 65) beat South Africa women 210 (Wolvaardt 71, Chetty 37, Haynes 2 for 12, Jonassen 2 for 40, Perry 2-47) by 59 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ellyse Perry was at the forefront of another Australian victory © ICC/Getty Images

Prior to Saturday's match, South Africa had never won against Australia in 13 completed ODIs. The closest they had come was in November 2016, when they managed a tie one of the five games of the series. Another had yielded a loss off the penultimate ball. That South Africa were able to bring some of that grit into their last league fixture this World Cup was largely down to legspinner Sune Luus' fifth five-wicket haul that restricted Australia to 269, and 18-year old Laura Wolvaardt's solid 71 that they could not capitalise on. South Africa fell 59 runs short in Taunton, allowing the defending champions to turn their attention to a semi-final clash with India on July 20.

Ellyse Perry was chiefly responsible for things turning out the way they did as she combined a 58-ball 59 with figures of 2 for 47. She ran Trisha Chetty out for 37 with a sharp throw from deep midwicket, and then removed Luus and Ayabonga Khaka off successive deliveries in the 39th over to clear Australia's path to victory.

Australia's spinners - Jess Jonassen, Asheligh Gardner and Kristen Beams - had done most of the damage, returning combined figures of 3 for 99 off 30 overs. While left-armer Jonassen took out opener Lizelle Lee in the sixth over of the chase, before adding van Niekerk to her tally of 2 for 40, Gardner and Kristen Beams ensured pressure was kept up from the other end as well.

In the absence of Meg Lanning, sidelined for a second time in the tournament with a shoulder injury, stand-in captain Rachael Haynes compounded South Africa's dismissing Mignon du Preez with her first ball in over four years. Haynes, who had last brandished her left-arm medium pace in the 2013 World Cup, also against the same opponents, dealt the more telling blow to South Africa's innings in her next over, toppling Wolvaardt on 71. The teenaged opener backed up two half-centuries and two not-outs from five preceding games with a knock full of substance, but she just couldn't do it alone.

That South Africa were able to bring up 100 in under 22 overs was, in part, due to Australia's sloppy fielding inside the circle. While Perry let an innocuous Wolvaardt drive, off Schutt, roll for four in the third over, Schutt dropped Chetty on 1 off Perry in the eighth, before Haynes joined in the comedy with a dive right over the ball at mid-off. Wolvaardt's departure, however, robbed the innings of the fluency and worse, triggered a collapse as South Africa lost five wickets for 17 runs. It was only Shabnim Ismail's 26 off 41 balls that yanked the total from 165 for 8 to 201.

Australia could have enjoyed a larger margin of victory if they had been able to capitalise on a 114-run opening stand. But neither of Beth Mooney nor Nicole Bolton could press on to convert their half-centuries beyond 53 and 79 respectively. And even Perry, who struck a fifth-successive fifty - a record in World Cup cricket - was sent back just as she seemed set to dominate. Considering little was going South Africa's way initially - by the 21st over, Dane van Niekerk had brought on a seventh bowler - Australia's batsmen would have wanted to make a stronger statement.

There was a mitigating factor though - the legspin of Luus. She got rid of Bolton and Elyse Villani in successive deliveries, and then denied Australia the firepower they needed in the slog overs by dismissing Perry in the 40th. She made sure South Africa were feeling good going into the mid-innings break. They just couldn't hold on to the feeling long enough.

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rynelr8107044 on July 16, 2017, 8:49 GMT

    Well batted Laura Wolfvaart and well bowled Sune Luus ... great future ahead

  • crowsf7183701 on July 16, 2017, 5:44 GMT

    It's interesting that in the absence of Lanning, Haynes is made captain. Haynes only played due to Lannings injury, so does Australia lack leadership outside of Lanning or is Haynes a really smart tactician?

  • heathq1437344 on July 16, 2017, 5:24 GMT

    A little concern with our batters compiculation and only reaching 269. But well done awesome game. Yes could not believe the run out call, but at the end of the day she was still out due to bounce of bat and and her hands being short of the line. Still he should of not given that out. Let's hope Lannimg and co can continue with this awesome batting run. Let's go Aussies.

  • bhatta6354964 on July 16, 2017, 4:06 GMT

    Common Aussies ! Win the cup again

  • Paul on July 16, 2017, 2:46 GMT

    KAUSTHUB they're waiting for India to defeat a top nation. Still waiting...

  • Paul on July 16, 2017, 2:45 GMT

    Oh my, that Kapp run out was the worst umpiring decision I can remember seeing for a long time. The only possible excuse would be that he saw her bat bounce into the air when the ball hit. But she was so far in that her hands were grounded behind the crease.

  • ksps201005180 on July 15, 2017, 22:39 GMT

    India should look to bat first and post a competitive score with the help of a very good batting line up and then try and defend it with lots of spin. Otherwise they would be very very tough to beat.

  • Kausthub on July 15, 2017, 19:23 GMT

    This is a tight slap on the face to those who described Mithali's batting as slow and who told India can't defeat top nations. Everyone has a bad day. Where are all the haters?

  • Andre on July 15, 2017, 18:27 GMT

    South Africa were hard done by umpires! Kapp was well in, but given out (run out). Mignon du Preez bowled from a waist high no-ball.

  • Kifayatullah AH on July 15, 2017, 17:39 GMT

    Australia will win this world cup too. This will be their 7th in women... Their women have dominated cricket even more than men... AUS men and AUS women; 2 most powerful teams of cricket. Hats off!

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