Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Australia Women 269 for 8 (Perry 68, McGrath 57, Gardner 48*, Tahuhu 3-53) beat New Zealand Women 128 all out (Satterthwaite 44, Brown 3-22, Gardner 2-15) by 141 runs
That's the thing about Australia - they bat deep. So when they wobbled rather spectacularly and unexpectedly against New Zealand, a team which hadn't beaten them in an ODI in five years and 12 attempts, they had the situation covered.
Cue Ellyse Perry, one of their all-time greats who hadn't had much to do in Australia's first two victories at this World Cup. And Tahlia McGrath, the hugely talented allrounder coming into her own after a Player-of-the-Series performance in the recent Ashes series against England. And Ashleigh Gardner, back from her Covid-enforced absence to wreak havoc in the final overs of Australia's innings.
Perry and McGrath scored half-centuries and put on a 101-run partnership for the fifth wicket after Australia had lurched to 56 for 3 and tripped again on 113 for 4 to push the title-favourites towards a respectable total. Then Gardner thundered an unbeaten 48 off just 18 balls to give New Zealand plenty to think about in their pursuit of 270.
Then again, New Zealand had defeated Australia by nine wickets in their pre-tournament warm-up match, with their top three of Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates and Amelia Kerr in scintillating form.
That's the thing about Australia - they've got bowlers to burn. So when they left out experienced spinner Jess Jonassen, who had been economical and effective so far in the tournament, Nicola Carey and Annabel Sutherland in order to be "aggressive" - in captain Meg Lanning's words at the toss - it paid off.
Cue Darcie Brown, the just-turned 19-year-old quick who ripped out two of New Zealand's big-three in a wonderful seven-over spell which yielded 3 for 22 as the hosts slid into dire trouble, from which they never recovered, losing by an emphatic 141 runs, their 100th defeat to Australia in ODIs.
It was Perry who made the initial breakthrough with an intelligent piece of bowling to remove Devine. After Devine smashed a full ball outside off for four just wide of mid-off, Perry came from wide of the crease, curved another fuller one in and beat the bat to crash into leg stump.
Brown dismissed Amelia for just one, finding the edge with a fuller ball outside off which swung away slightly and Beth Mooney took an excellent catch at second slip. Brown had Bates out in her next over, tempting the pull with a short, fast one that looped up to McGrath at midwicket.
McGrath chimed in with the wicket of Maddy Green, caught behind, and then Brown dismissed Frankie Mackay, who unsuccessfully reviewed the lbw decision as New Zealand slumped to 35 for 5.
Amanda-Jade Wellington claimed two in two balls when she trapped Katey Martin, who had looked out of sorts and spoken at length with team medical staff shortly before her dismissal, and then had Hayley Jensen caught at cover by McGrath.
Seven wickets down with only 73 on the board, Hannah Rowe didn't help the New Zealand's cause when she spooned a legcutter from Megan Schutt, playing the unfamiliar role of fifth rather than opening bowler, straight to Perry at short cover.
Amy Satterthwaite offered some resistance, but she fell on 44, to a sharp diving catch by Lanning off Gardner, who finished things off when she had Tahuhu caught by Mooney at deep midwicket.
Earlier, Perry combined with Mooney to steady Australia's innings after New Zealand had won the toss and contained them superbly to 37 for 1 in the powerplay. Alyssa Healy and Lanning fell to frustrated attempts to get the innings moving before Rachael Haynes copped an absolute gem from Tahuhu which nipped back from outside off to clip the top of off stump.
Mooney dragged one on off Amelia Kerr to end her stand with Perry at 57, but then McGrath eased the tension with some expansive stroke-play and Perry got in on the act, clubbing a waist-high full for four through deep backward square to bring up her fifty and punishing the free hit over wide long-on for six.
McGrath raised her fifty with a second consecutive four off Amelia and it took a spectacular catch by Green to break her stand with Perry. Stationed at long-on, Green launched herself to her left to a powerful drive by Perry over Tahuhu's head and pulled the ball down. McGrath then fell for 57 off 56 balls, mistiming an attempted straight hit off Rowe to Bates at mid-off.
Gardner's knock was a cameo in terms of time spent and balls faced, but not on impact. With New Zealand bowling too short over the closing stages, she slammed four fours and four sixes, including a 75m effort off Tahuhu into the considerable wind whipping through the Basin Reserve, ramming home the message that you can't give an inch.
That's the thing about Australia.
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