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Australia Women vs West Indies Women: Australia Eye England Showdown

By on June 15, 2009

icc women's world twenty20 - Shelley Nitschke

Australia Women won by 8 wickets (with 16 balls remaining)…

Australia women eased past West Indies by eight wickets at Taunton and look set to qualify behind New Zealand from Group A as potential ICC World Twenty20 semi-final opponents for England.

Player of the match Shelley Nitschke made 56 off 38 balls to help her side to their first victory of the tournament, all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar adding 34 not out to her tight 2-23 against a determined West Indies, and Rene Farrell making an unbeaten 31 in an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 53.

With South Africa their opponents on Tuesday afternoon, Australia will expect to move into the final four and face the hosts at The Oval on Friday.

In what was a must-win game for both teams, already comprehensively beaten by the White Ferns, West Indies started at a cracking pace after opting to bat, racing to 29 off the first two overs on their way to a testing total of 135 for eight.

Nitschke and Leah Poulton did similarly for Australia, putting on 50 in 7.4 overs. Nitschke clubbed Kirbyina Alexander for six and four off successive balls as the Aussies reached a comfortable 32 without loss after the first five overs, still slightly below the required run-rate.

By the time Poulton was caught by Pamela Lavine at long-on off Cordel Jack for eight, the mark had already been set, Nitschke reaching her half-century just after the midway point of the innings with Australia 65 for one.

She fell with 83 on the board, having hit nine fours, caught out of her crease backing up as Jack touched a straight drive from Sthalekar on to the stumps.

The boundaries started to flow and there was no way for the West Indies attack to turn back the tide, the 100 reached in the 15th over as Farrell made the most of two successive full tosses from Anisa Mohammed with gift fours to midwicket.

Fittingly, Sthalekar hit the winning boundary to midwicket off Debbie-Ann Lewis off the third ball of the 18th over as Australia coasted to 136 for two to start dreaming of a showdown with the world champions, who they beat in a warm-up match at Taunton Vale last week.

Deandra Dottin had been impressive earlier with the bat for West Indies. Promoted up the order, she punched Farrell for five boundaries in the second over and, with Stafanie Taylor, put on 50 inside five before the latter was run out for eight.

The controlled Caribbean power hitting continued as Dottin passed 50 with a straight six off Sthalekar, her 22-ball knock the fastest half-century in the short history of women’s international Twenty20s, knocking Kiwi Suzie Bates out of the record books.

But when she was caught on the run by Alex Blackwell at short extra-cover three balls later for 53, which included nine fours, the momentum subsided fatally.

From 80 for three at the halfway point, the question was whether West Indies had enough big hitters left to knock the Aussies out, and send them packing like their male counterparts well before expectations.

The answer was ultimately a no in terms of a total their bowlers could happily defend. Juliana Nero lofted a simple catch back to Sthalekar to depart for seven, and the 100 came up in the 15th over as Jack crafted the first boundary since Dottin’s departure with a neat cut.

Sthalekar dropped Jack at a wide long-on when she had made 16, and then left-hander Stacy-Ann King cracked Kirsten Pike for a lusty six over midwicket in the same over before holing out to Lauren Ebsary next ball.

Lewis joined Jack at 115 for five, and they kept the scoreboard ticking until Jack, having survived one missed stumping, was poached smartly by Fields the next ball trying to cut Nitschke off the back foot. She had made 24 off 30 balls.

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