Brilliant display of batting by Beth Mooney helped Australia post 156/6 against hosts South Africa in the summit clash of the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 here at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday.
Mooney scored the highest for Australia with 74 runs off 53 balls while Ashleigh Gardner played a helping knock of 29 off 21 deliveries. For South Africa, Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp bagged two wickets while Nonkululeko Mlaba and Chloe Tryon scalped one wicket apiece.
Shabnim Ismail was the pick of the bowlers, taking 2/26 in her four overs and becoming the leading wicket-taker in the history of the Women’s T20 World Cup in the process.
Opting to bat first, Australia’s openers made it through a tense opening few overs, but Alyssa Healy was the first wicket to fall for 18 when Nadine de Klerk held on to a chance off the bowling of Marizanne Kapp.
Australia opted to promote Ash Gardner ahead of Meg Lanning in the batting line-up, but a stunning maiden over from Shabnim Ismail ensured the score was just 36/1 at the end of the Powerplay.
The decision to promote Gardner up the order did pay off, with the all-rounder smashing consecutive sixes as she upped the scoring rate. And the total had stretched to 73/1 by the time drinks were taken midway through the innings.
It looked like Gardner was in a position to take the game away from South Africa, but spin-bowling all-rounder Chloe Tryon broke the stand, sending Gardner packing for 29 from 21 balls thanks to an excellent catch from Sune Luus.
And Australia again took the aggressive option with their flexible batting line-up, pushing the powerful Grace Harris up the order.
Harris has a phenomenal strike-rate in her T20I career, but couldn’t really get going and fell victim to Nonlululeko Mlaba for 10 from 9 balls. And Meg Lanning, coming in at number five, was able to add just 10 from 11 before she was caught off Kapp to leave Australia in danger of posting a below-par total.
In the last over, Ismail struck twice to dismiss Ellyse Perry and Georgia Wareham to restrict Australia to 156/6 in the first innings of the World Cup final at Newlands.
Brief score: Australia 156/6 (Beth Mooney 74*, Ashleigh Gardner 29; Shabnim Ismail 2-26) vs South Africa. (ANI)