WELLINGTON: Rachael Haynes scored an unbeaten 83 as Australia took another step in its inexorable progress to a seventh Women’s Cricket World Cup title, beating the West Indies by seven wickets Tuesday to remain unbeaten after four group matches.
Backing up only two days after it beat host New Zealand by 141 runs, Australia rested leading bowlers Darcie Brown and Amanda-Jade Wellington and still bowled out the West Indies for 131.
Haynes’ innings and her late, unbroken partnership of 74 with Beth Mooney (28) allowed Australia to reach its target with almost 20 full overs remaining.
The day began well for Australia in advantageous bowling conditions. Light rain delayed the start of play by 30 minutes without costing any overs and play began in heavy overcast and windy conditions.
There was an ominous sign for the West Indies batters from the very first ball when Megan Schutt bowled a hooping inswinger to Deandra Dottin, helped by the wind. Schutt continued to swing the ball into the right-handers while Elysse Perry had the ability to take it away on both sides of the wicket.
Perry removed the West Indies first three batters — Dottin (16), Hayley Matthews (0) and Kycia Knight (0) — in an opening spell of eight consecutive overs and finished with 3-22.
Ashleigh Gardner helped dismantle the middle order, dismissing Shemaine Campbelle (20), Chedean Nation (0) and West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor, whose 50 from 91 deliveries led her team’s recovery from the loss of Matthews and Knight to consecutive balls in the second over of the innings.
Australia’s fielding remains a cut above other teams at the tournament and its catching also is on another plane. Australia's huge depth allows it to rotate players at will, without losing any of its considerable strength.
“That’s the beauty of our squad, we’ve got such great depth,” captain Meg Lanning said. “Anyone who does come in makes an impact on the game. They’re not just part of the team, they’re able to change the game.
“I thought early wickets up front today made a difference in the game, put us in front an put them under pressure."
The early loss of Matthews and Knight was a blow to the West Indies from which they couldn’t recover. The continued pressure applied later by the Australian spinners also made scoring difficult but Taylor ground out her half century with little support.
The West Indies, in turn, had Australia under some pressure when they dismissed Alyssa Healy and Lanning within the first four overs. But Haynes was immovable, posting her 17th half-century in one-day internationals and her fourth at a World Cup.
After a century against England in Australia’s opening match and scores of 34 against Pakistan and 30 against New Zealand, she is averaging 92 in the tournament so far.
The West Indies began the tournament strongly with wins over New Zealand and defending champion England but now have lost heavily to India and Australia.
“It wasn’t the best batting performance from us,” Taylor said. “I think we just didn’t assess the conditions well and losing early wickets put a dent in the batting.”
Australia leads the tournament by two points from the only other unbeaten side, South Africa, which has three wins from three games. It has matches remaining in the eight-team round-robin against India, South Africa and Bangladesh.