Australia made a strong statement in their opening match of the T20 World Cup, defeating New Zealand by a 97-run margin at Boland Park in Paarl. Alyssa Healy’s impressive half-century, combined with strong performances from Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry, helped Australia reach a score of 9-173 despite a late-innings collapse of 5-19 triggered by the run-out of Grace Harris.
Megan Schutt dominated the game with ball in hand, removing both Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine in the opening over of New Zealand’s chase. Schutt and Ashleigh Gardner were instrumental in skittling the Kiwis for just 76 in 14 overs. Despite a strong start by Bernadine Bezuidenhout, the White Ferns were unable to recover from their early losses and fell apart quickly, with Hayley Jensen and the tail being wrapped up by Gardner.
Earlier in the match, Beth Mooney was out for a second-ball duck in the opening over after New Zealand chose to send the Aussies in. Healy made a triumphant return from injury, slotting back into the Australian XI and hitting the first boundary of the World Cup campaign. Lanning and Perry also made strong contributions, with Perry showing signs of her recent dominant T20 batting form, but the run-out of Harris in the 17th over sapped the momentum out of Australia’s innings.
Australia will now move on to Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) to prepare for their next match against Bangladesh, while New Zealand remains in Paarl to face South Africa. Overall, the T20 World Cup opener was a dominant performance from the Aussies, who made a major statement with their win over New Zealand.