Australia Women won by 97 runs
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Ashleigh Gardner
The defending champions secured a 97-run win over New Zealand to kickstart their world cup campaign
A career-best return of 5 for 12 - and a maiden fifer across formats - by Ash Gardner helped Australia register a thumping 97-run win to set the ball rolling for the 2023 T20 World Cup campaign. After piling on 171 for 9, the defending champions bundled out New Zealand for 76 at Boland Park in Paarl.
Put in to bat, Australia's innings was a story of two halves - the first of which was led by a 70-run stand for the second wicket between Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning, after Beth Mooney fell for a second-ball duck. Healy and Lanning's attack - characterised by a high-percentage of boundaries - laid the foundation for Australia's strong total.
The second half, on the other hand, belonged to New Zealand, who triggered a batting collapse, courtesy three-wicket hauls by Lea Tahuhu and Amelia Kerr. Once Lanning was cleaned up by Kerr for a 33-ball 41, and Ash Gardener followed soon after, New Zealand found a way back to take control, but an assured half-century alliance between old mates Ellyse Perry and Healy ensured that Australia retained control.
Meg Lanning: We are really happy, we knew it will be a challenge. Healy was really good upfront and Perry was incredible to put NZ under pressure. Taking early wickets always help and picking Devine and Bates early on helped. Can't complain too much and hopefully we can improve throughout the tournament. (On Gardner) She is a reliable bowler under any conditions and she has worked really hard to get to this point.
Ashleigh Gardner | Player of the Match: I think that was set up by our batters, gave us some flexibility, and I was lucky enough to take those wickets in the end. I have worked a lot on my wrist position. It's more about my length. Some were bouncing and some weren't and I bowled at the stumps and that helped. Our whole bowling unit kept bowling it straight, some shoot up and some don't. Alyss told us to bowl on stumps and to keep all dismissals in play, so that is something that we will continue to work on as a bowling unit.