New Delhi: The Australian women’s cricket team kept its World Twenty20 semi-final hopes alive by registering a seven-wicket victory over Ireland in a Group A clash at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Saturday.
With this win, defending champions Australia have six points from all their four matches while New Zealand have won all their three matches so far. While Ireland completed their campaign without a win, third-placed South Africa, with one win in two matches, play Sri Lanka later in the day.
Sri Lanka, who have two points from three matches, are out of the semi-final race but if South Africa win their next two matches, the net run-rate will come into play to decide the top two sides from the group.
Australia, playing the must-win match, first restricted Ireland to 91/7 in 20 overs and chased down the target with seven wickets and 6.4 overs to spare. Ellyse Villani scored 43 in 35 deliveries as Elleyse Perry remained unbeaten on 29 for Australia.
Ireland got off to a strong start, thanks to Clare Shillington (22) and Cecelia Joyce (23). They were 33 for no loss till 4.4 overs when Megan Schutt removed Shillington, who was more aggressive of the two, for 22 (19 deliveries).
Kim Garth joined Cecelia in the middle as Australia began to control things. Cecelia and Garth failed to accelerate and soon the former lost her wicket to medium pacer Rene Farrell with Ireland at 53/2 in 11.3 overs.
Later, Garth contributed 27 as the rest of the batswomen perished in search of quick runs. However, Garth’s innings was slow. She played 46 deliveries that included 24 dots and no boundaries.
Right-arm medium pacer Schutt stood out for the Australians, dismissing Garth for 27 and Isobel Joyce (8). Farrell took another wicket in the form of Robyn Lewis (0) as Ireland were only able to post a total of 91/7 in 20 overs.
In reply, Australia lost Allysa Healy (6) early and experienced batswoman Meg Lanning (8). These two wickets – with Australia at 31/2 in five overs – gave the Irish some hope. But Villani and Perry forged a 54-run stand for the third wicket to ensure Australia’s victory.
Garth again contributed with two wickets of Lanning and Villani while Ciara Metcalfe picked up Healy’s wicket.
Brief scores: Ireland 91/7 in 20 overs (Kim Garth 27, Cecelia Joyce 23; Megan Schutt 3/29, Rene Farrell 2/11) lost to Australia 92/3 in 13.2 overs (Elyse Villani 43, Ellyse Perry not out 29; Kim Garth 2/24).

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