Opening batter Nicole Bolton lamented her side’s inability to go big as Australia secured a place in the semi-finals with a clinical 59-run victory over South Africa.
Australia were on track to post a big first innings total after Bolton (79) and fellow opener Beth Mooney (53) remained unbeaten after 20 overs, going at just under six-runs-an-over, but the first four wickets then fell for just 40 runs halting the free-flowing scoring that occupied the first hour in Taunton.
“Obviously we were setting the innings up nicely to go quite big past 300, but again just losing wickets together was a bit of an issue and it stopped the innings a bit,” Bolton said.
Quick Single: Ruthless Australia dispatch South Africa
Their match against South Africa was just the third time they’ve batted first in the Women’s World Cup - with their highest total of 8-290 coming against Pakistan – the Proteas the only team to bowl Australia out thus far in the tournament, reducing them to the eventually unattainable 269.
“I think at the end of the day we would’ve taken 270 on that wicket … I know we left a couple of balls out there but I think our intent to go pretty big was evident.”
The opening pairing of Bolton and Mooney once again were key contributors with a second century stand this tournament, today’s 114-run partnership going with their mammoth 171-run stand against the West Indies in game one.
“We really enjoy batting with each other, we just complement each other very well," she said.
"Although we are both left-handers I feel like we hit to different areas of the ground, which can be hard for a bowler to find the right line and length to bowl, it’s really great to see hard work up the top for Beth Mooney paying off as well.”
Mooney has paired with Bolton at the top of the order just seven times in 19 outings in the previous 12 months, with both averaging a remarkable 40 or more in the 50-over format.
The left-hander also paid tribute to the efforts of the bowling group against some quality opposition when scores haven’t been as high as Australia would’ve liked.
“Obviously our bowlers to restrict South Africa after a pretty good start, to come back and really bowl hard lengths to get the run rate up was a great way to get us back into the game,” she said.
Alongside Jess Jonassen (2-40) and Ellyse Perry (2-47), stand-in skipper Rachael Haynes also claimed two wickets, surprisingly bringing herself on with her left-arm medium pace despite not having bowled a ball during pre-tournament camps and training through the Australian’s time in the United Kingdom.
But her move proved to be a masterstroke, removing Mignon du Preez with her first ball and then Laura Wolvaardt soon after, both caught at deep mid-wicket by Ashleigh Gardner to leave the captain with 2-10 from her two overs.
Their victory over South Africa meant Australia finish second behind England and host India in Derby, a ground India has featured on four times while Australia have not once played on the North London ground.
“(India) have played a couple of matches at Derby so they’ll be familiar with the conditions, so it’s pretty cut throat, we can’t afford to be off our game, and as you’ve seen throughout the tournament if you have an off-day the other team can get a jump on you," Bolton said.
“With the extra break heading into the game we’ll be able to familiarise ourselves with the grounds and conditions and have a look at a bit of footage, we just have to take it as is and assess really early and make sure that we’re really clear with what our plans are.
“On any given day irrelevant of where we play, our best cricket is going to go out there hopefully and win the match.”
Women's World Cup Guide
Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.