CWG 2022, 2nd Semi-final, Australia vs New Zealand: Megan Schutt’s 3-20, Tahlia McGrath’s (34, 2-30) all-round show take Australia Women to finals of Commonwealth Games Women's Cricket Competition 2022.
Brief Scores: AUS-W 145/5 (Mooney 36, McGrath 34, Tahuhu 3/20) beat NZ-W 144/7 (Devine 53, Kerr 40, Schutt 3/20) by five wickets and join India in the gold medal clash
Favourites Australia who have been unbeaten in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 with three clinical victories, took on New Zealand in the second semi-final of the Commonwealth Games Women’s Cricket Competition 2022 at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Saturday.
Earlier on Saturday, India had booked the final’s ticket securing a close win over England by just four runs.
Australia captain Meg Lanning, on winning the toss, opted to field first. While New Zealand handed a debut cap to 18-year-old batting all-rounder Georgia Plimmer replacing Rosemary Mair, Australia fielded an unchanged eleven.
Favourites Australia reach another final comfortably
Put in to bat first, Australia straightaway gave New Zealand a heavy blow sending back class batter Suzie Bates before ending the short stay of debutant Plimmer, both thanks to Megan Schutt. Sophie Devine and Amelia Kerr partnered for a 64-ball 73-run stand to steady the White Ferns. However, Australia made a superb return as New Zealand were reduced from a stable 112/3 in the 16th over to 144/7.
Chasing an average score by their standards, Australia lost two quick early wickets and were reduced to 28/2 in 4.4 overs. Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath shared a 56-run stand to steady the ship. After both got dismissed, the White Ferns did smell a little scope of comeback but all their plans were watered by the opposition’s middle-order batters as Australia booked the finals ticket to meet India.
Let’s scan the top performances from the second semi-final between Australia Women and New Zealand Women at Edgbaston, CWG 2022.
Megan Schutt punctured New Zealand with 3/20
Megan Schutt, who had 103 WT20I wickets for Australia in 82 games prior to this semi-final, has been a pillar for them with the new ball in hand; someone who can bowl those big inswingers besides generating some unplayable leg-cutters.
The highest wicket-taker of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, Schutt on her fifth ball of the game disturbed the furniture of Suzie Bates for a first ball duck with a big in-swinging delivery that cramped her for room to play the cut shot.
Schutt, coming into her second and the last over of the powerplay, went through the gates of debutant Georgia Plimmer on 17 with a good length delivery that got the better of Plimmer’s defense.
Schutt, who is the first female bowler to take two international hat-tricks, got rid of dangerous looking Brooke Halliday on 16 with a back of a length ball that landed in the hands of deep mid-wicket.
Schutt finished with figures of 3/20 in her four overs as Australia confined New Zealand to 144/7.
Tahlia McGrath displayed her all-round abilities
On the biggest stage of the second semi-final, Tahlia McGrath magnified her brightness with a match-winning all-round performance.
With ball in hand, McGrath was decent in her first two overs, leaking just 14 runs without picking up a wicket. But on the last ball of her third over, McGrath with a slower ball sent back Amelia Kerr on 40, who in an attempt to slog the ball ballooned it as the short third fielder grabbed an easy catch.
McGrath uprooted the stumps of Lea Tahuhu to send her back on 3 with a superb yorker and ended with figures of 2/30 in her four overs.
Chasing a decent 145, Australia lost an early wicket when McGrath walked out to the middle. For the first few balls, she didn’t receive a lot of strike, but when she got it, she slapped two successive boundaries; one was smacked over mid-off while the other one was pulled to the deep square fence.
McGrath cracked two more boundaries before celebrating the 50-run partnership with Beth Mooney in 36 balls. After a boundary that was put away in the gap between deep square and deep mid-wicket region, she was unfortunately hunted through a run out for a well-compiled 34 in 23 balls.
McGrath’s innings was arranged with six boundaries as Australia inched closer to the Commonwealth Games final.
Lea Tahuhu’s class bowling (3/20) frightens Australia
Defending a low score of 145 against a batting powerhouse like Australia can only be possible by taking early wickets and New Zealand’s right arm medium fast bowler, Lea Tahuhu provided them a ray of hope.
On her first ball of the game, she dismissed Alyssa Healy, who has been going through a lean patch in her career, for a personal score of 14. Healy got a faint tickle off a leg-sided delivery to gift Tahuhu her first wicket.
The 31-year-old from Christchurch coming in her second over with an in-swinging yorker blew away the stumps of Australia captain, Meg Lanning, on a personal score of 7.
Tahuhu, who had 53 WT20I wickets in 64 games at an economy of just 6.06 prior to this game, coming into her third over got rid of good-looking opener Beth Mooney, who drove a full and wide delivery straight into the hands of the cover fielder on 36 as Australia, for a little moment, were shaken up by Tahuhu’s outstanding performance with the ball.
Lea Tahuhu returned with golden figures of 3/20 in her four overs including a maiden.
What’s to Come
Losing side New Zealand will meet England for the bronze medal game, while Australia will join India for the gold medal game. Both the matches will be played on August 7 at Edgbaston in Birmingham.