Australia setup a mouth-watering gold medal showdown with India at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games by defeating New Zealand by five wickets at Edgbaston on Saturday.
SEMI-FINAL 2: AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND
Toss: Australia opted to field first
Result: Australia win by five wickets
Australia’s depth proves the difference
It was Australia’s greater depth that proved pivotal in the semi-final, with the usually reliable Alyssa Healy (14) and Meg Lanning (7) falling early in their quest of New Zealand’s decent total of 144/7.
All-rounder Tahlia McGrath (34) continued her superb tournament as she combined with opener Beth Mooney (36) for a 56-run stand, before Ashleigh Gardner (19*) used all her experience to guide Australia home.
The late loss of Rachael Haynes for 19 left the Aussies requiring 16 from the final 16 deliveries, but Grace Harris (8*) joined Gardner at the crease to lift Australia past the required score with three balls remaining.
Dropped catches come back to haunt White Ferns
The Kiwis had multiple opportunities to make further inroads on Australia’s batting line-up and will be left to rue a host of dropped chances in the field that included dropping Lanning first ball.
While Amelia Kerr’s dropped catch against Lanning didn’t cost New Zealand much, they also put down Mooney when she was on six and McGrath when she was on just 14.
It was a case of what could have been for the White Ferns, who got superb efforts from skipper Sophie Devine (53) and Kerr (40) and would have been happy to have posted a decent score after being put into bat first by Lanning.
Veteran Lea Tahuhu (3/20) bowled with purpose and was rewarded with a host of key wickets, but breaks in concentration in the field proved costly as Australia snuck past the total in the final over.
Who wins the medals?
Australia will take on India for the gold medal at Edgbaston on Sunday, while New Zealand battle it out against hosts England for the bronze medal earlier in the day.
While Australia will enter the gold medal match as slight favourites, star batter Smriti Mandhana is in superb form for India and is capable of winning any match from her own bat.
England will be looking to bounce back in the bronze medal match after they fell to India by just four runs in the first semi-final earlier in the day on Saturday.
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