Australia’s relentless march through the Women’s World Cup continued with captain Meg Lanning thrashing an unbeaten century as the tournament favourites dealt South Africa a humbling five-wicket defeat in Wellington on Tuesday.
Having made a World Cup record chase to reel in India’s 277 for seven in Auckland on Saturday, undefeated Australia made light work of South Africa’s 271 for five, ticking off the winning runs with nearly five overs to spare.
Lanning smashed 135 off 130 balls as Australia won their sixth straight match, the star skipper scooping another player-of-the-match award after hammering 97 against India.
“We thought (270) was par and the track got better towards the end of South African innings,” said Lanning.
“It was a new wicket, so the longer the sun beat on it, the better it got.” As did Lanning.
Australia lost openers Rachael Haynes (17) and Alyssa Healy (5) cheaply but Lanning steadied the ship before going on the offensive in partnerships with Beth Mooney (21) and Tahlia McGrath (32).
Unbeaten coming into the match, Sune Luus’s South Africa were buoyed by 90 runs from opener Laura Wolvaardt but rued a dreadful day in the field.
They blew a chance to dismiss Lanning for seven when wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty failed to dive for an edge.
McGrath and Ashleigh Gardener (22) were also reprieved as a slew of catches went to grass.
Australia were much sharper, as shown by Gardner, who flew backwards for a stunning one-handed catch on the boundary to dismiss Mignon Du Preez for 14.
“We just lost it a bit on the field, probably lost a bit of focus,” said Luus.
“We will discuss it after the game and won’t repeat it.” Australia have now won 18 successive matches when chasing in ODIs.
Already qualified for the semi-finals, they head into their final group match against Bangladesh on Friday with only one concern, a back injury for Ellyse Perry that saw the all-rounder spared her usual top order batting.
South Africa play India on Sunday.