- Australia have reached the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals after beating New Zealand
- The hosts join India, South Africa and England in the last four
- Shashikala Siriwardena (four for 16) signed off in style to help Sri Lanka finish with a win
The two sides locked horns in a winner-takes-all affair with Meg Lanning’s side triumphant in Melbourne, with Beth Mooney’s half-century leading the way first up.
Megan Schutt and Georgia Wareham then shone with the ball to take Australia into the last four alongside India, South Africa and England.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka ended their Women’s T20 World Cup on a high as Shashikala Siriwardena bowed out of international cricket with four wickets in victory over Bangladesh.
Australia hold their nerve to progress
Defeat in Australia’s first game ensured error-free cricket was needed thereon and they delivered in style to record their third successive win of the tournament.
Beth Mooney dominated with the bat with her 60 from 50 balls leading the charge after New Zealand had put the hosts in at Junction Oval.
Wickets at regular intervals thwarted Sophie Devine’s side with leg-spinner Georgia Wareham brilliant with the ball, dismissing Suzie Bates, Maddy Green and the captain herself.
Katey Martin (37 not out) threatened to win the day but the White Ferns fell just four runs short of victory as their hopes of Women’s T20 World Cup glory ended in disappointment.
But it wasn’t all perfection for Australia, with star all-rounder Ellyse Perry forced to leave the field with a hamstring injury midway through the chase.
“Ellyse has been a massive part of our squad and team for a long time and you can’t replace her,” said captain Meg Lanning.
“But we’ve got 15 players here who can do a job and you need a squad to win a World Cup. You can’t rely on one or two players and use the same 11 players every game
“We’re going to have to use the depth we’ve got — that’s just the reality of elite sport, unfortunately.
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but I have full confidence that whoever comes in can play a role.
“Today’s performance was our best of the tournament so far. I don’t think we could be better placed for the semi-finals.”
New Zealand skipper Devine added: “We let them off the hook at the end of the innings. It would have been a masterstroke at the end if we could have won.
“Certainly skill-wise we’re there. Everyone knows we’re a really talented side. Whether it’s a mindset, game awareness of experience playing in those high-pressure situations. When we get back home, we’ll certainly go through everything.
“That’s the thing about Australia. It doesn’t matter who on the day but someone always seems to step up for them.
“We’re actually really close. To think we’ve taken both Australia and India within five of six runs.”
Sri Lanka’s perfect finale for Siriwardena
Taking four wickets in a nine-wicket win – Shashikala Siriwardena couldn’t have asked for much more in her final outing for Sri Lanka.
The spinner finished with four for 16, the best figures of this edition to date, to help restrict Bangladesh to 91 for eight in their last Group A match.
Chamari Athapaththu, as she has so often in this tournament, shone with the bat to lead Sri Lanka’s chase with 30 from 22 balls.
But this time she had some top-order support through Hasini Perera (39 not out), guiding her country to fourth spot in the group by winning with four overs remaining.
“From the beginning of the day it was very hard as I knew I was playing my last game,” said Siriwardena.
“I was kind of nervous knowing I would be wearing national colours for the last time. It was pretty emotional, but I told myself it wasn’t the time to get emotional.
“I knew my contribution would be important so I told myself to not think about my retirement until the match ended. I really love to perform, but the main thing was getting the win for the team.
“I’m truly satisfied that I did something to help my country. I’ll miss being with these girls. I have spent more time with this team than with my family.”
Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun added: “We need to keep regularly playing the top-ranked teams in order to improve. The more we play with them, the more we’ll improve. That’s the key for us.
“In one match we batted well, in another we bowled well but our fielding has been a constant concern.
“This experience will help us to move forward. The most important things we need to improve on are our power cricket and level of fitness.
“Our fitness is the main thing that will help us improve our skills and performance.”
Scores in brief
Australia beat New Zealand by four runs, Junction Oval, Melbourne
Australia 155-5, 20 overs (Beth Mooney 60, Ellyse Perry 21; Anna Peterson 2-31)
New Zealand 151-7, 20 overs (Katey Martin 37 not out, Georgia Wareham 3-17, Megan Schutt 3-28)
Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by nine wickets, Junction Oval, Melbourne
Bangladesh 91-8, 20 overs (Nigar Sultana Joty 39; Shashikala Siriwardena 4-16, Achini Kulasuriya 2-19)
Sri Lanka 92-1, 15.3 overs (Hasini Perera 39 not out, Chamari Athapaththu 30; Nahida Akter 1-18)