In the chase of 157, South Africa was not off to a good start. Darcie Brown took the first wicket, dismissing an in-form Tazmin Brits for just 10 off 17 balls after Tahlia McGrath caught her at mid-on. SA was 17/1 in 5 overs. Aussie bowlers had restricted the hosts’ run-flow during the key powerplay overs.
At the end of the powerplay after six overs, SA desperately needed an uptick in their run rate as they were at 22/1, with Marizanne Kapp (4*), joining opener Laura Wolvaardt (7*).
The hosts were looking to get to the 50-run mark without any further damage, but Ashleigh Gardner struck, dismissing Kapp for 10 off 17 balls. South Africa was 46/2 after Darcie’s catch ended Kapp’s stay at the crease.
At the end of 10 overs, SA was 52/2, with skipper Sune Luus (1*) joining Wolvaardt (28*) at the crease.
However, Luus’s stay at the crease was short as well. Australia continued making further inroads into the match, running her out for two runs. Hosts desperately needed a partnership, as they were at 54/3 in 10.4 overs.
Tahlia’s second over and overall the 13th over of SA innings helped relieve some pressure due to a couple of no balls. One of the free hits was smashed for a six. 14 runs came from the over, taking the total to 73/3. The next over by Georgia Wareham also gave away 15 runs, taking the total to 88/3 in 14 overs. Proteas needed 69 in the final six overs. Laura brought up her half-century in 43 balls with a four, the knock consisted of four boundaries and three sixes.
Schutt ended Laura’s 48-ball stay at the crease, trapping her lbw for 62 consisting of five fours and three sixes. SA was 109/4 in 16.3 overs.
Australia continued to make a comeback, with Jess Jonassen dismissing a well-set Chloe Tryon for 25 off 23 balls and Anneke Bosch being run out for one by duo of Ellyse Perry and Healy for one. SA was 122/6 in 18 and needed 35 in the final two overs.
The equation boiled down to 27 in the final over. Australia defended these runs easily, winning the match by 19 runs. Nadine de Klerk was unbeaten at 7 while wicketkeeper-batter Sinalo Jafta was unbeaten at 8. SA ended at 137/6.
Schutt, Gardner, Darcie Brown and Jonassen each took a wicket.
Earlier, a brilliant display of batting by Beth Mooney helped Australia post 156/6 against hosts South Africa in the summit clash of the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 here at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday.
Mooney scored the highest for Australia with 74 runs off 53 balls while Ashleigh Gardner played a helping knock of 29 off 21 deliveries. For South Africa, Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp bagged two wickets while Nonkululeko Mlaba and Chloe Tryon scalped one wicket apiece.
Shabnim Ismail was the pick of the bowlers, taking 2/26 in her four overs and becoming the leading wicket-taker in the history of the Women’s T20 World Cup in the process.
Opting to bat first, Australia’s openers made it through a tense opening few overs, but Alyssa Healy was the first wicket to fall for 18 when Nadine de Klerk held on to a chance off the bowling of Marizanne Kapp.
Australia opted to promote Ash Gardner ahead of Meg Lanning in the batting line-up, but a stunning maiden over from Shabnim Ismail ensured the score was just 36/1 at the end of the Powerplay.
The decision to promote Gardner up the order did pay off, with the all-rounder smashing consecutive sixes as she upped the scoring rate. And the total had stretched to 73/1 by the time drinks were taken midway through the innings.
It looked like Gardner was in a position to take the game away from South Africa, but spin-bowling all-rounder Chloe Tryon broke the stand, sending Gardner packing for 29 from 21 balls thanks to an excellent catch from Sune Luus.
And Australia again took the aggressive option with their flexible batting line-up, pushing the powerful Grace Harris up the order.
Harris has a phenomenal strike-rate in her T20I career, but couldn’t really get going and fell victim to Nonlululeko Mlaba for 10 from 9 balls. And Meg Lanning, coming in at number five, was able to add just 10 from 11 before she was caught off Kapp to leave Australia in danger of posting a below-par total.
In the last over, Ismail struck twice to dismiss Ellyse Perry and Georgia Wareham to restrict Australia to 156/6 in the first innings of the World Cup final at Newlands.