NEW DELHI: Coming to the crease with the defending champions in a spot of bother chasing South Africa's 124 for six, McGrath showed no nerves as she and Ashleigh Gardner added 81 runs for the fourth wicket to take them to the brink of victory.
World number 1 T20I batter Tahlia McGrath's blistering 57 completed a perfect run through the group stages of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023 for Australia, as they beat hosts South Africa by six wickets in Gqeberha on Saturday. With this win, Australia topped Group 1 with four wins in four games, logging a total of eight points. South Africa is in third position with one win and two losses in three matches and a total of three points. They have a total of two points with one more game to go.
Coming to the crease with the defending champions in a spot of bother chasing South Africa's 124 for six, McGrath showed no nerves as she and Ashleigh Gardner added 81 runs for the fourth wicket to take them to the brink of victory. While McGrath did fall at the back-end of the Aussie innings, the job was done by then as the defending champions cantered to a comfortable win.
South Africa, meanwhile, started strongly witn both bat and ball only to fall away later. They now face a must-win clash with Bangladesh while hoping New Zealand beat Sri Lanka and finish at four points along with the hosts and the Islanders, which would then put the team with the better net run-rate through the semifinal. After being put into bat, South Africa made a flying start as Tazmin Brits and Laura Wolvaardt combined to put on 54 runs at a run-a-ball for the opening wicket.
Eventually, Ellyse Perry had Wolvaardt caught behind for 19 by Beth Mooney, who was keeping in place of the injured Alyssa Healy. Marizanne Kapp fell for a duck before Georgia Wareham got the big one when she clean bowled Brits for 45. She also scalped Chloe Tryon (1) in the same over as South Africa suddenly found themselves 77 for four.
The hosts sank deeper, with Delmi Tucker falling for seven to Megan Schutt. The going got tougher for South Africa as the boundaries dried up. After going more than eight overs without finding the ropes, Nadine de Klerk launched Schutt over the boundary over long-on before Sune Luus added a four in the final over.
The skipper was bowled by Gardner for 20 while De Klerk finished on 14 not out as the hosts had to settle for 124 for six after a promising start. Georgia Wareham was the pick of the bowlers for Australia, taking 2/18 in four overs. Schutt, Darcie Brown, Perry and Gardner took one wicket each.
While the score wasn't going to be enougn for the defending champions, the Aussies hobbled at the start Kapp having Perry caught at slip by Tryon for 11 before Meg Lanning was bowled around her legs for one by Nonkululeko Mlaba in the sixth over. When Kapp found Mooney plumb in front for 20, Australia were 40 for three in seven overs.
However, the batting depth of the Aussies came to the fore at this point, with McGrath and Gardner settling in and taking the chase forward. Successive boundaries from the blade McGrath in the tenth over saw the momentum shift, with the defending champions picking up pace. From then on, boundaries kept coming at regular intervals. McGrath, meanwhile, raised her half-century off just 29 balls.
Three more boundaries off Mlaba took Australia within touching distance, and while she was caught by Wolvaardt off Masabata Klaas trying to finish the job, Grace Harris came in to smash the winning boundary. The Aussies cantered home with three-and-a-half overs to spare. Kaap took 2/21 in her four overs for SA, while Nonkululeko Mlaba and Masabata Klaas took a wicket each.
McGrath won the 'Player of the Match' for her powerful knock. Brief Scores: South Africa: 124/6 in 20 overs (Tazmin Brits 45, Sune Luus 20, Georgia Wareham 2/18) lost to Australia: 125/4 in 16.3 overs (Tahlia McGrath 57, Ashleigh Gardner 28 not out* Marizanne Kapp 2/21).
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