Australia join Proteas in T20 semis with win over New Zealand
MELBOURNE – Australia has clinched a spot in the Women's Twenty20 Cricket World Cup semifinals with a four-run win over New Zealand in a winner-takes-all match at the Junction Oval.
The four-time champions joined India, South Africa and England in the final four.
Australia was sent into bat Monday and posted 155-5, with Beth Mooney hitting 60 from 50 deliveries, and Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry each scoring 21.
New Zealand got contributions from the top order but lost wickets at regular intervals and went into the last over needing 20 runs for victory, finishing just short at 151-7. Katey Martin was unbeaten on 37 from 18 deliveries, including a six from a full toss on the last ball of the match.
Georgia Wareham took three key wickets for 17 runs from four overs and was voted player of the match, and pace bowler Megan Schutt returned 3-28.
The 20-year-old legspinner had Suzie Bates (14) out lbw on a decision review to end the eighth over to have New New Zealand at 53-2. Wareham then combined with wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy to have New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine (31) and Maddy Green (28) stumped as the Ferns slipped to 108-4 in the 16th over.
On the down side for Australia, veteran allrounder Perry left the field with a right leg injury and could be a doubtful starter for Thursday's semifinals.
Lanning said she hoped Perry could recover in time for the next stage. Australia has had trouble with injuries and has been under pressure since losing the tournament-opening game to India.
“It was a crunch game. I thought we handled it really well — calmed the nerves early," Lanning said. “We showed we're able to be pretty calm when we're under the pump."
India topped Group A with four wins from four games and will play the second-place team in Group B in the semifinals. England beat the 2016 champion West Indies on Sunday night to secure a semifinal spot with six points. South Africa is unbeaten in its first three games and will be hoping to secure top spot in Group B with a victory over West Indies on Tuesday.