Australia brushes off meek Irish challenge

Chasing a mere 92 to win, the Southern Stars overhauled the target in just 13.2 overs at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium, riding on a 54-run partnership between opener Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry for the third wicket.

Elyse Villani, who top-scored with 43 runs, put the Irish bowlers to the sword cutting and driving to the boundary at will.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Australian women advanced into the semifinals of the World T20 in style with a clinical seven-wicket victory against hapless Ireland in its final Group A league match on Saturday.

Chasing a mere 92 to win, the Southern Stars overhauled the target in just 13.2 overs at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium, riding on a 54-run partnership between opener Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry for the third wicket. Villani, continuing her imperious form from the previous game, put the bowlers to the sword cutting and driving boundaries on either side of the pitch. By the time she fell for a dominating 43, the defending champion had come to within 10 runs of victory.

Ireland did not have a bad start, however. In fact, it was ahead in the Powerplay, both in terms of runs scored (34) and wickets in hand. Ireland owed its total to the top three, Clare Shillington (22), Cecilia Joyce (23) and Kim Garth (27) getting the bulk of the runs. But Kristen Beams with her leg-breaks, and Jess Jonassen and Rene Farrell kept the run rate on a tight leash in the middle overs while Megan Schutt took a wicket every time she came on to bowl. Kim Garth top-scored for the Irish and also took two wickets.

In contrast, Australia lost Alyssa Healy and captain Meg Lanning early but Perry and Villani then took over, stroking the ball with ease. Ireland would also rue some poor bowling that saw captain Isobel Joyce take a brilliant one-handed catch in the deep to dismiss Perry, only for Claire Metcalfe to be declared having bowled too high above the waist.

With this win, Australia finished its league engagements with three wins in four games to be placed second behind New Zealand, level on points (6) but the White Ferns having a game in hand.

The scores: Ireland 91 for seven in 20 overs (Kim Garth 27; Megan Schutt three for 29, Rene Farrell two for 11) lost to Australia 92 for three in 13.2 overs (Elyse Villani 43, Ellyse Perry not out 23; Kim Garth two for 24).