Australia has copped a rare thrashing in its final warm-up match ahead of the Women’s World Cup, but Meg Lanning’s side isn’t concerned.
Australia has copped a rare thrashing in its final warm-up match ahead of the Women’s Cricket World Cup, with New Zealand cruising to a nine-wicket victory at Christchurch’s Bert Sutcliffe Oval on Tuesday.
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine plundered an unbeaten 161 off 117 balls to help the Kiwis chase the 322-run target with 41 balls to spare.
The all-rounder smacked 22 boundaries and four sixes, ruthlessly targeting Australia’s inexperienced bowlers.
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Amelia Kerr, who has flourished in the No. 3 batting spot this summer, contributed 92 not out off 75 balls in an epic 206-run partnership with Devine.
Although the fixture did not classify as an official one-day international, New Zealand’s 1/325 also would have ranked as the highest successful run chase in the history of women’s ODIs.
“(Devine) probably could have got 200 … it was a fantastic innings,” Australian vice-captain Rachael Haynes told reporters after the defeat.
“She’s obviously a world-class player. I’ve seen her be pretty brutal with the bat in the past, particularly in domestic cricket.
“She definitely had a day out. We know she’s a very dangerous player.
“They look like a team that’s in good nick.”
Alana King was Australia’s only wicket-taker, removing experienced opener Suzie Bates for 63 in the 21st over. The Aussies rotated through nine bowlers in the practice fixture, with young all-rounder Annabel Sutherland conceding 41 runs from her three overs.
“It was good for our bowling group to be under pressure, so we’ve got some good lessons to take out of today,” Haynes said.
“It’s a good thing to be put under the pump, particularly in a practice game. Sometimes that’s really had to contrive at training.
“That’s the beauty of practice games.”
Having won 33 of its most recent 35 ODI matches, Australia are understandably touted as favourites ahead of the World Cup, but Tuesday’s demolition would be cause for concern.
New Zealand is coming off a 4-1 ODI series triumph over India, and Devine’s masterclass against Australia serves as a dire warning to the rest of the competition.
AAP reporter Ben McKay tweeted: “Staggering from Sophie Devine. Having a laugh.”
The Age’s Daniel Brettig posted: “Warm-up game or not, a helluva long time since Aust have been thrashed by that much.”
Earlier in the match, Australian captain Meg Lanning cracked a quick-fire 87 to steer the visitors towards a team total of 321.
The talented right-hander scored 19 runs from her first 41 balls at the crease before accelerating in the middle overs.
Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney also scored half-centuries, while all-rounder Ash Gardner provided some late fireworks for the Australians, smashing 60 off 32 balls at the death.
Hannah Rowe was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand, finishing with figures of 4/49 from 10 overs, including the wickets of Gardner and Tahlia McGrath.
Ellyse Perry, who scored a half-century in Australia’s previous warm-up match against the West Indies, did not bat in Tuesday’s fixture.
Australia will fly to Hamilton on Thursday ahead of their opening World Cup fixture against England, which is scheduled to commence on Saturday afternoon at 12pm AEDT.
“Our group is really fresh, and that’s a good sign heading into a very physically and mentally challenging tournament,” Haynes said.
“I think it’s going to be a really tightly-contested tournament.
“Every game is going to be a challenge.”
Australia’s Women’s World Cup fixtures
March 5 vs England, Seddon Park, Hamilton, 12pm AEDT
March 8 vs Pakistan, Bay Oval, Tauranga, 12pm AEDT
March 13 vs New Zealand, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT
March 15 vs West Indies, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT
March 19 vs India, Eden Park, Auckland, 12pm AEDT
March 22 vs South Africa, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT
March 25 vs Bangladesh, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT