New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first with the same team that faced India. Australia, on the other hand, made three changes to their playing XI with no. 1 ranked ODI bowler Jess Jonassen along with Annabel Sutherland and Nicola Carey making way for Gardner, McGrath, and Darcie Brown. New Zealand started the proceedings with the right-arm pace duo of Jess Kerr and Hannah Rowe.
After a slow start by the Australia openers against Jess and Rowe, Devine introduced the off-spin of Frances Mackay in the eighth over with a slip in place. Pressure-built by the opening pace bowling pair helped the hosts as Alyssa Healy gave away an easy chance to deep mid-wicket for 15. Captain Meg Lanning walked in at three, but never looked comfortable against the pace of Tahuhu and Jensen and eventually lost her wicket as Katey Martin took a catch behind the stumps.
Australia’s vice-captain was undone by a beautiful delivery by Tahuhu who decided to come round the wicket against Haynes and reaped the reward. From 56 for three in the 16th over, Australia needed rebuilding with the experienced duo of Perry and Beth Mooney patiently taking Australia past 100 in the 26th over. The pair was calm against Amelia Kerr but went after Mackay who missed her length on many occasions.
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Amelia broke the threatening-looking stand with a loopy delivery which Mooney failed to read as the inside edge saw her departing for 30. Perry, who was playing the second fiddle to Mooney had to step up and she delivered at a crucial stage in the game. With McGrath by her side she brought up her 29th ODI half-century by hitting a boundary towards deep square leg. The counter-attack continued as McGrath brought her first World Cup half-century off just 47 balls.
Maddy Green’s sensational diving catch in the deep saw the end of Perry for 68 as she was looking to change gears in final five overs. Gardner, straight out of isolation, clobbered the first delivery she faced, for a four between point and short third. Australia lost McGrath, Alana King, Amanda-Jade Wellington in quick succession trying to make most of the death overs. While Gardner smoked an unbeaten 48 off just 18 balls to take Australia past 250. Gardner’s cameo helped Australia to add 55 runs in the final five overs as they set the target of 270 for their Trans-Tasman rivals.
In reply, New Zealand were in tatters early on as the ball went through the bat and pad to rattle captain Devine’s stumps in the fifth over. Four balls later, Mooney took a blinder in the second slip to send dangerous Amelia for just one. Dot ball pressure kept building and Bates was next to depart as she missed a pull shot. Lanning introduced McGrath after the power play and she immediately struck with the wicket of Green.
New Zealand needed a big partnership to bail themselves out but, Brown trapped Mackay in front for just one to skittle New Zealand to 35 for four. Katey Martin, playing her 100th ODI, survived an early LBW appeal and supported vice-captain Amy Satterthwaite, who saw her team’s collapse from the other end. New Zealand were 41 for five at the end of the 12th over and needed to score at the rate of six per over.
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Satterthwaite and Martin tried to revive the New Zealand reply with a steady partnership but relentless pressure building from Australia meant they could only add 38 runs. Wellington removed Martin and Hayley Jensen with back-to-back deliveries to end the resistance shown by the experienced pair. Hannah Rowe’s soft dismissal gave Megan Schutt her first wicket, who was introduced in the 17th over.
Satterthwaite’s long vigil was finally broken in the 29th over as Lanning took a diving catch, giving Gardner her first wicket of the tournament. Mooney took another excellent catch off Gardner to bowl New Zealand out for 128.
Brief Scores: Australia 269/8 in 50 overs (Ellyse Perry 68, Tahlia McGrath 57, Lea Tahuhu 3/53) beat New Zealand 128/10 in 30.2 overs (Amy Satterthwaite 44, Darcie Brown 3/22, Ashleigh Gardner 2/15) by 141 runs. POTM: Ellyse Perry