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January 31, 2008
Australia Under-21s beat Australia by 8 wickets
Australia Under-21s humbled an international team for the second time this week, by restricting over World Champions Australia to 9 for 168 from a rain-restricted 45 overs and then overhauling the total with eight wickets and 12.4 overs to spare. This glimpse into the future - particularly Elyse Villani's 85 - will delight Australians but set the fear into other teams around the world.
The Australia team themselves won't be so pleased to have crumbled against their juniors, the Shooting Stars, who have been gunning all week. England may have beaten them in their second encounter but they have held their heads high throughout and emerged as more-than-worthy competition for both international teams.
Delissa Kimmince shone again with the ball, taking 3 for 18 from her nine overs, including Lisa Sthalekar and the opener Shelley Nitschke. Jo-Ann Verall bagged the prized wicket of Karen Rolton who has been on fire in domestic cricket this season, the only player to post a century as she passed 4000 state runs. However on Thursday she reached only 6.
On a slow track Australia might have fancied their chances of restricting the juniors, but if so they reckoned without the impressive Villani, who made 85 from 78 balls including 14 fours. She hit cleanly and over-the-top as she smashed Sarah Andrews out of the attack and, batting as usual with a maturity beyond her age, she should be marked for Australia's near-future. Andrews, meanwhile, had a day to forget, with 2 to alongside her four overs for 37.
Alyssa Healy cleaned up with an unbeaten 41, a second decent score this week, and the Shooting Stars will be well pleased with their efforts. England and Australia will meet at the MCG on Friday in something of a slight state of shock but will hope to put it all behind them and put on a decent show for the cameras.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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