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March 10, 2009
Australia 258 for 4 (Rolton 96*, Nitschke 87, Smith 3-42) beat South Africa 197 (Chetty 58, Nitschke 3-43) by 61 runs
Australia bounced back strongly from the defeat in their opening match against New Zealand and scored a comprehensive win against South Africa in New Castle. The stars of the victory were Karen Rolton and Shelley Nitschke who scored brisk half-centuries to lead the hosts to a formidable 258. Nitschke damaged South Africa with the ball as well, taking 3 for 43 as South Africa were dismissed for 197. South Africa have lost both their matches and are virtually out of the running for the Super Six.
Australia's openers Nitschke and Alex Blackwell gave their team a solid start after Rolton won the toss. They added 75 in 20.3 overs before Blackwell was bowled by Alicia Smith, the first of her three wickets. However, it was the second-wicket partnership of 82 between Rolton and Nitschke that turned the match in Australia's favour. They increased the run-rate during the stand and by the time Nitschke was dismissed for 87 off 94 balls, Australia were scoring at nearly five runs per over. Rolton carried on, hitting 13 fours during her 96 off 87 balls. Rolton looked certain to reach her hundred in the final over - and become the most prolific century-maker in women's cricket - but couldn't get enough strike.
"We got off to a bit of a slow start and I would have liked a few more runs early on but to the South African girls' credit they bowled well," Rolton said. "It's tough when you don't play a team for four years. We haven't played South Africa since the last World Cup in 2005 and even then it was only once.
"It was good to middle a few when I came out to bat. We've been working hard to try and get some partnerships going and some people batting through and making runs because we haven't been able to do that."
The target was a formidable one and South Africa's innings never gained the necessary momentum. Trisha Chetty held the innings together with a half-century but she received little support from her team-mates. South Africa fell away after Cri-zelda Brits and Mignon du Preez scored 36 and 37 respectively. Nitschke's three wickets jolted the middle order and the last six batsmen failed to reach double figures.
"It was a good fight for the girls and I thought South Africa batted well," Rolton said. "I'm a little bit disappointed with the way we bowled and that's something we can work on before our next match against West Indies."
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