Australia win the Tasman battle
Australia 232 for 8 (Sthalekar 45) beat New Zealand 183 (Pike 3-31) by 49 runs
New Zealand suffered their first defeat of tournament as they failed to chase down 234 against Australia, falling 49 runs short in Chennai. Australia's attack produced a team effort with Kirsten Pike claiming key middle-order wickets as they also earned a vital bonus point in their push for the final.
The Kiwi batting had led them to victories in their first three matches, but this time came unstuck once Sarah Andrews removed both openers and Haidee Tiffin was run out by Cathryn Fitzpatrick. Rebecca Rolls and Sara McGlashan added 45 for the fourth wicket, but Rolls was caught behind off Pike just as she was looking dangerous. McGlashan and Aimee Mason then both fell with the score on 121 and Australia went for the kill.
Lisa Sthalekar, who top-scored with 45 in Australia's innings, said: "We had to win today to stay in the game and getting the bonus point means we are starting to get things right a bit. Where we still have to improve is the fielding. It has been dropping off a bit. I didn't think 232 was a good enough score though in the end it proved to be much too many runs."
She praised New Zealand and said they are the best side on show. "Their bowlers have been really effective, it was fortunate for us that Sarah Tsukigawa was injured for this game," she added. "Bowlers bring the fielders into the game by bowling right. New Zealand bowlers get their line and length right. And their batsmen have firepower. They are big girls who can easily go over the boundary."
New Zealand had made regular inroads into Australia's batting, taking wickets each time a stand threatened to develop. However, the lower order scored at a decent rate with Fitzpatrick, Jodie Purves and Andrews hitting at more than a run-a-ball.
Tiffen said missed chances cost her team: "We bowled well in the start but dropped catches and that let the Australian batsmen build partnerships. The score was not so high bit we just kept losing wickets and didn't form any partnerships. The batsmen who have been doing well didn't this time.
"The tournament looks good. In international cricket you want the games to be challenging. You want to be tested in every aspect of the game and we want to go into the final winning the rest of the matches."