Women’s World T20: Semi-final berth “massive” for No 1 Australia – Meg Lanning
Alyssa Healy was awarded a third consecutive Player-of-the-Match award for her 38-ball 53. (Image: ICC)

Meg Lanning, captain of Australia Women, was a relieved figure after the Southern Stars beat New Zealand Women by 33 runs  at Guyana’s Providence Stadium to seal passage to the semi-final stage of the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20.

Australia finished on 153/7 in their 20 overs, a total that could have felt somewhat underwhelming given the strong start provided by Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney, and defended it tigerishly with Megan Schutt leading the way with 3/12. It was the 11th successive win in T20Is for the No 1 team.

“It’s a massive win for us,” said Lanning. “We were tested all the way. Really pleasing to get the win. We thought it was a par total. We felt if we could control the Powerplay, we were in the game and I thought our bowlers did a fantastic job. Taking the pace off the ball and trying to limit the boundaries, it was crucial to get the wickets at that stage. Healy has been dominating at the top with the bat and [Rachel] Haynes also chipped in towards the end.”

Australia’s innings came unstuck somewhat once Healy was dismissed in the 13th over as the New Zealand offspinner Leigh Kasperek – who on Wednesday became the fastest to 50 wickets in Women’s T20Is – pulled things back, but an unbeaten 29 off 18 balls from Haynes got the total past 150.

Healy was awarded a third consecutive Player-of-the-Match award for her 38-ball 53, which was her sixth fifty in her last eight T20I innings.

“Just really pumped. The Kiwis were always going to come hard, they needed the win,” said Healy. “Worked really hard on my batting, opened a new area of the ground that I can access if need be. The Kiwis bowled really well in that middle period but 150 was always going to be tough to get. Might be a round of golf coming. Its been a tough six weeks away from home. Looking forward to the game against India.”

Australia next play India Women in their fourth and final league match.