Skipper Meg Lanning produced another masterclass, smashing an unbeaten 135 as six-time champions Australia continued their invincible run with a five-wicket thrashing of South Africa in the ICC Women’s World Cup on Tuesday.
Lanning scored her 15th ODI century with 15 hits to the fence and one maximum during her 130-ball unconquered innings to help Australia successfully chase down South Africa’s total of 271 for 5 with 28 balls to spare at Basin Reserve.
Invited to bat, opener Laura Wolvaardt cracked a 134-ball 90, while skipper Sune Luus (52) notched another half-century as South Africa posted a decent total from their 50 overs.
However, it proved inadequate in the end as Lanning took control of Australia’s chase and recorded her third World Cup century to lead her team to a comfortable victory.
The win further consolidated Australia’s position at the top of the table with 12 points from six matches and they are likely to end at the top with just one match to go against Bangladesh in the league stage.
It was South Africa’s first loss of the tournament. They remain second in the standings with 8 points from five games but are still in danger of missing out on the semifinals should they fail to win any of their final two matches against West Indies and India.
The Australian innings was all about Lanning as the skipper showed her class with a true captain’s knock that was one of her best innings of all time.
Opener Alyssa Healy (1) was out in the third over and Rachael Haynes (17) followed her back to the pavilion in the 11th when Mignon du Preez held on to a screamer in the outfield to leave Australia in a spot of bother at 45 for 2.
However, Lanning showed little respect to the South Africa bowlers as she found the gaps with ease.
The Australia captain enjoyed a 60-run partnership with the reliable Beth Mooney (21) and then an even better one of 93 with all-rounder Tahlia McGrath (32) that put Australia in a dominant position to cruise home.
A back injury to Ellyse Perry was the only negative to come out of the win for Australia, with the veteran all-rounder bowling just three overs. She did not bat.
Earlier, opener Wolvaardt continued her rich run of form, sharing 88 runs with Lizelle Lee (36) for the opening wicket, before forging a 91-run stand with skipper Luus (52).
Ash Gardner pulled off the catch of the tournament when she held on to a beauty in the outfield to dismiss du Preez (14), while Marizanne Kapp (30 not out off 21 balls) hit four boundaries to help boost South Africa’s total.
For the Proteas, seamer Shabnim Ismail (2/33) and spinner Chloe Tryon (2/44) snapped two wickets apiece.