ESPNcricinfo – An opening partnership of 171 between Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney paved the way for Australia women to begin their title defence with an eight-wicket win against West Indies, the team they beat in the 2013 final.
Mooney made 70, while Bolton remained unbeaten on 107 as Australia completed their chase of 205 in 38.1 overs.
At no point were West Indies on top after they chose, after all manner of toss-related confusion, to bat first. Four of their top five got starts, but none of them got past fifty, as Australia’s bowlers, led by Ellyse Perry, kept striking regular blows to ensure that an innings struggling to get out of second gear never built significant momentum.
Wickets through the middle overs cut short any partnership that threatened to blossom. Jess Jonassen, who dropped the opener Hayley Matthews on 27, made amends by bowling her with an arm ball just when she was looking dangerous, having added 19 off her last 18 balls. That ended a second-wicket stand of 52 between Matthews and Chedean Nation.
Then came a cameo from Deandra Dottin, who put on 34 in 29 balls with her captain Stafanie Taylor for the fourth wicket. Dottin may have just begun to worry Australia’s think tank when Perry brought a swift end to her innings. Having just conceded two successive fours – a pull and a flick, both placed wide of midwicket – she came up with the perfect riposte, an inducker that bowled Dottin through the gate.
West Indies, 157 for 4 at that point, simply couldn’t pick themselves up, with Taylor finding no support at the other end. The last seven wickets fell for 47 runs, Taylor eighth out for 45 off 57 balls.
Australia were never going to sweat over a target of 205 unless they lost wickets up front. Bolton and Mooney ensured that wouldn’t happen, serenely seeing off West Indies’ new-ball bowlers. Shakera Selman found late swing into the stumps from over the wicket to the two left-handers, while the taller, quicker Shamilia Connell went round the wicket and extracted bounce from just short of a good length. The first five overs brought only 15 runs, but neither batter looked anything but secure.
Then Mooney, profiting from Connell dropping too short, picked up two fours in the sixth over before Bolton clipped Selman to the square-leg boundary in the seventh. Australia were away. Mooney and Bolton barely had to stretch themselves thereafter, as the spinners and medium-pacers kept offering up a boundary ball roughly every second over.
Mooney led the scoring through two-thirds of the opening stand, bringing up her fifty 2.5 overs before her partner, before Bolton left her in her wake with a blaze of boundaries. Stepping out whenever she saw some flight and punishing the inevitable short balls that followed, Bolton raced from 45 off 69 balls to 92 off 96, her sprint to her third ODI hundred interrupted only by Mooney’s dismissal at the other end, bowled by Taylor’s offspin.
Taylor picked up another wicket, Meg Lanning miscuing a big hit, but it was only a consolation, as Bolton and Perry steered Australia home with no further drama.
Scores: Australia women 205 for 2 (Bolton 107*, Mooney 70, Taylor 2-33) beat West Indies women 204 (Matthews 46, Taylor 45, Perry 3-47) by eight wickets.
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