Mitchell Johnson whacked Aussie opener David Warner and chairman of selectors George Bailey - both ex-teammates of Johnson - in a scathing column. He…
If you had asked me at the start of the ICC Women’s World Cup which match I was looking forward to the most, it is unlikely I would have said South Africa vs Australia.
But here we are.
In a game which determined who would remain the only unbeaten team in the tournament, hopes were high for the quality of this contest and it did not disappoint.
This was the first time that Australia and South Africa have played each other in an ODI since 2017 and for fans of the WBBL, there were certainly plenty of familiar faces in the South African team, including Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Sune Luus, Mignon du Preez and Marizanne Kapp.
South Africa have never beaten Australia in the women’s game in any format and that statistic continued as the Aussies claimed a five-wicket win.
Here are the talking points.
Magnificent Meg finally gets her century
Meg Lanning has batted superbly throughout this World Cup but fallen short of her century, scoring 97 against India and 86 against England.
But today, Lanning scored her 15th ODI century, finishing on 135 not out and anchoring the Australian innings when the next highest score behind her was Tahlia McGrath on 32.
It was a masterclass from the Aussie skipper, scoring 13 fours and a six.
Lanning’s innings demonstrates why the Aussies are so hard to beat. With a batting line up that runs deep, even if Australia lose cheap wickets, there is always at least one player that anchors the innings.
A challenge for the Australian bowlers
There was also some solid batting from the Proteas, particularly by Wolvaardt who scored 90 and a quickfire 30 off 21 for Kapp.
For the first time during this tournament, the Aussie bowlers did not claim a wicket during the power play, which saw Wolvaardt and Lee score 0-41 in a partnership which yielded 88 runs – the highest opening partnership against Australia in the tournament.
One area the Aussie bowlers have struggled in recently is getting out an opposition batter who has settled and is really ‘in’’. This has not proved costly so far but will no doubt be something the bowlers and selectors consider.
On the topic of Australia’s innings in the field, Ashleigh Gardner continues to demonstrate why she is one of the best cricketers in the world, taking a fantastic, one-handed catch on the boundary to dismiss Du Preez that would otherwise have been a certain six.
Concern for Ellyse Perry
Ellyse Perry was helped from the field because of a back injury and did not bat, which makes for a nervous wait to see if she will be fit for the remainder.
On the plus side, Australia have plenty of depth, but it would be a shame for Perry who also missed the final of the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup due to injury.
An exciting finish to come
At the moment, Australia is the only team guaranteed to finish in the top four but who their opponents will be may not be decided until Sunday.
South Africa need to win one of their final two games again the West Indies or India to qualify. The Windies have delighted with wins against New Zealand and England, but need to beat South Africa and then wait on the results to see if England or India lose at least one of their final games.
India’s win over Bangladesh lets them breathe a sigh of relief, but their final position will likely come down to their game against South Africa on Sunday.
England with three straight losses, but with games coming up against Pakistan and Bangladesh, they find themselves still in a position to make the top four.
Then when it comes to New Zealand, Bangladesh and Pakistan, we start talking about what ‘mathematically’ needs to happen to make it. I wish my maths was that strong.