Aussie disaster sours 'superb' thriller
AUSTRALIA are through to the World Cup semi-finals once again after outlasting New Zealand in a four-run victory but look like they'll be without Ellyse Perry, who left the field with what looks to be a hamstring injury.
It was a sudden death group match for both teams with the winner to qualify for the semi-finals while the loser would head home.
New Zealand put in a huge fight but a slice of luck with the review of Suzie Bates helping to change the game with three wickets each to Megan Schutt (3/28) and player of the match Georgia Wareham (3/17) helping Australia seal the victory by just four runs.
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While it was a great performance from Australia, injury concern Perry limped off the field after clutching at her hamstring after fielding a ball.
The reigning Belinda Clark Medalist came into the game with an injured shoulder and hip and was potentially going to miss the match against New Zealand.
But an invaluable 21 off 15 balls at the death helped Australia to a competitive 5/155 off their 20 overs.
She bowled two overs with figures of 0/15.
Skipper Meg Lanning said the Perry injury "took an extra pace option away from us" at the end.
"I haven't heard anything, it didn't look great," Lanning said. "She's a tough player so hopefully she's OK."
Confirmed hamstring injury for Ellyse Perry, very likely ends her #T20WorldCup— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) March 2, 2020
Final in 6 days time, rare for even grade 1 hamstring strain to allow return to play within a week considering high recurrence rate (up to 30%). Especially with physical demands of cricket #AUSvNZ
It was a positive performance with the bat as Australia looked to take the match to the Kiwis, with Beth Mooney hitting six fours and two sixes in her 50-ball 60.
Perry's cameo, alongside Rachael Haynes' 19 off eight balls pushed Australia past 150.
New Zealand come out swinging as well and looked to be cruising at 1/53 off 7.5 overs.
Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates were starting to pile on the runs when Wareham changed the match.
The leg-spinner first pitched a ball that trapped Bates in front, and while it was given not out, Australia went for the review, despite Wareham not being sure.
REVIEW - AND OUT! ☝️— News Cricket (@NewsCorpCricket) March 2, 2020
Bates (14 off 15) is struck in front of the stumps by Wareham but is given not out - Lanning sends it upstairs and the review is successful!
NZ now 2/54 off 8.2 | #AUSvNZ live blog: https://t.co/lG6aW3yv85#T20WorldCup #CmonAussie #WithTheWhiteFerns pic.twitter.com/pTDPuQYsrI
Aussie skipper Lanning's bold choice paid off with the ball cannoning into the top of middle stump.
Regular wickets throughout the innings had Australia in the box seat but New Zealand never gave up, taking the game to the final over.
But needing 20 runs to win, it proved a bridge too far with Australia claiming a spot in the semi-finals.
This has been a superb last over from Ash Gardner. What a relief! #T20worldcup— Luke D'Anello (@LukeDAnello) March 2, 2020
Aussie quick Schutt, who took three late wickets to hold the Kiwis at bay, said the win was "bloody awesome".
"Honestly, we were out there and were fired up," she said. "I think that's probably something we haven't done in previous matches is actually get that bit of anger, I think it's a good thing for cricket."
The side will either play England or South Africa, depending on results in Pool B, at the SCG on Thursday.