Australia advance to semi-final of Women’s T20 World Cup

Women's Cricket team
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Hosts Australia have reached the semi-finals of the Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup after beating New Zealand by four runs in what was a must-win match in Melbourne on Monday morning. They have now joined India, South Africa and England in the last four.

Both Australia, who have won four out of the previous five editions of the tournament, and New Zealand had lost their group matches against India and Monday’s match at the Junction Oval was basically a quarter-final match.

New Zealand Captain Sophie Devine surprisingly asked Australia to bat first and the hosts showed positive intent from the onset to stamp their authority on the match, posting 155 for 5 from their 20 overs.

Opening batter Beth Mooney laid the foundation with 60 off 50 deliveries for the hosts.

Leg-spinner Georgia Wareham then took the key wickets of Devine, who made 31, Suzie Bates and the dangerous Maddy Green to finish with figures of three for 17 in four overs to derail New Zealand’s chase and help Australia restrict them to 151 for 7.

Megan Schutt picked up 3 for 28 with her medium pace as the total proved too steep for New Zealand to chase down, despite a valiant unbeaten 37 off 18 balls from Katey Martin.

Meanwhile, South Africa, who are currently second in Group B, have a chance of finishing top of the group if they manage to beat the West Indies in their final group match in Sydney on Tuesday.

The Proteas are unbeaten after three matches.

“I think most of these players have been there. They’ve played a lot of cricket against these teams and the fact that most of them have been part of the big pressure, also, I think it gave them a bit of confidence. The other thing that is there is that we came from a very good tour from New Zealand on our way here so that also gave the confidence to be able to compete against one of the top teams in the world, especially in this format. Yes, we didn’t win the series as far as T20s are concerned, but we had a very successful ODI series so from that momentum and confidence just built from there and it was good to see how everybody applied themselves on the day,” says Proteas Women’s coach Hilton Moreeng.

The iconic Sydney Cricket Ground will host the double-header semi-final on Thursday.