ICC: Lanning – World-class middle order set up superb New Zealand win

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Photo Credit: ICC

Meg Lanning labelled Australia’s middle order as world class after they recovered from a stuttering start to beat New Zealand by 141 runs at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022.

The six-time champions were restricted to 56 for three in Wellington and reached the halfway stage with just 97 runs on the board, as New Zealand’s bowlers did a brilliant job of limiting boundaries. 

But a pair of impressive half-centuries from Ellyse Perry (68) and Tahlia McGrath (57) set the platform for some late fireworks from Ashleigh Gardner who struck eight boundaries – including four sixes – in an 18-ball unbeaten 48 in her first game back from Covid isolation. 

That helped Australia to 269 for eight and their new-ball bowlers ripped through the New Zealand top order, with teenage star Darcie Brown finishing with three for 22. 

Amy Satterthwaite (44) was the only New Zealand batter to offer any resistance as the hosts fell to 128 all out and their second defeat from four matches. 

And Lanning hailed a job well done by her batters and was pleased to see them dig deep and deliver the goods after a tough start. 

“It was a crucial period in the game, we could have been under a little bit more pressure and that is the beauty of our batting line-up,” she said. 

“We have a lot of depth and players who can rescue an innings. We set that platform to allow us to play like we did at the back end. 

“It was great to have Ash back, it’s been a tough 10 days for her but she has come back incredibly well and I’m looking forward to the rest of the tournament for her. 

“It gave us the momentum going into the second innings, we felt it was a good score but not necessarily a match-winning one. We knew we had to take some early wickets and we went in hard to try and get a few key batters out and that’s what happened. 

“We had a really tough selection today, obviously Jess Jonassen missed out and she is a world-class bowler who has done extremely well for us over a period of time. 

“But we felt like that extra pace option was the way to go and it worked up front. On another day, it might not but that is the way we have to look at every game at this World Cup.” 

New Zealand now have a break after a busy first nine days and don’t play again until they meet South Africa on Thursday. 

Their record of two wins and two defeats shows they are a team full of promise but also lack consistency and captain Sophie Devine again highlighted their batting. 

The White Ferns slipped from 22 for no loss to 35 for five and they could not recover from there failing to make use of their bowlers’ strong work. 

“The batting was poor. We saw with the way Amy [Satterthwaite] tried to bat through there, you can take your time. Australia set the blueprint, if you take your time then you can cash in. We just weren’t able to,” she said. 

“We showed why I wanted to bowl first, we thought if we could contain them and take some wickets we could put the pressure on. 

“It just goes to show the quality of that Australia side, we had them three or four down and the run-rate under control but they launched into the last 10 overs and it was too much for us today. 

“You can’t take anything away from Ash, it was a combination of brilliant batting and poor bowling. The way she struck the ball today was outstanding and she was smart about it too, in Wellington if you get it up in the air it can carry another 20 or 30 metres further. 

“We have seen in this tournament that 250 or 260 seems to be par and they got 270. We knew this wicket is a good cricket wicket and the outfield is true and fast. We thought if we could keep wickets in hand, it was a chase we could get.” 

New Zealand now have a few days off and Devine says the break comes at the perfect time before they attack the second half of their campaign. 

“It has been a full-on schedule but we knew that coming into it,” she added.  

“It is nice for us to get an extra day off, which we will use well. It is important for us to take a couple of days away and reflect, we have obviously got South Africa on Thursday which is a huge game for us and we are looking forward to it.” 

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