Villani, Perry set up a big victory for Australia women


A century from Elyse Villani and a half-century from Ellyse Perry (67) saw them lead Australia to a 103-run victory over South Africa in their first warm-up encounter at the Women’s World Cup in England on Tuesday.

The pair shared a match-winning, 167-run stand for the fourth wicket, moving their team from a wobbly 40/3 in the 14th to 207/4 after 39.1 overs at Oakham School.

The South Africans made a good start with the ball thanks to Ayabonga Khaka, who took the wickets of Beth Mooney and captain, Meg Lanning for a respective 24 and nil up front.

Masabata Klaas then joined in, removing Nicole Bolton for 14, leaving the defending champions shaken before Villani and Perry intervened.

They showed their vast experience and propelled their innings forward at a rapid pace, the former reaching her century and the latter a 76-ball 67 runs before her eventual run out at the hands of Nadine de Klerk at the top of the 40th over.

Villani plunged ahead, spearheading a 63-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Alex Blackwell who returned 32 not out.

Marizanne Kapp brought relief to proceedings when she got rid of Villani on a superb 137 (112 balls, 13 fours, 7 sixes), but Alyssa Healy (25*) and Blackwell set off the fireworks, smashing a combined 54 runs from 21 deliveries to boost their side to a hefty 324/5 at the end of their innings.

South Africa’s reply did not go off as planned when miscommunication saw Lizelle Lee run out without facing a ball.

Andrie Steyn followed eight overs later, getting trapped in front for 12 off Jess Jonassen’s (3/29) bowling after adding 37 runs for the second wicket with Trisha Chetty.

The veteran played the anchor role well, putting on a 58-run, third-wicket stand with Chloe Tryon (26 off 47 balls) before the latter was defeated by a good delivery from Sarah Aley just before the end of the 22nd over.

Marizanne Kapp (1) was the next to go, lasting just 10 balls before she was caught & bowled by Perry in the 25th.

Chetty and captain, Dane van Niekerk provided some stability, scoring 62 and 54 runs respectively and showing patience up front and reaping the rewards thereafter.

Another good cameo came from number nine batter, Nadine de Klerk who scored a 22-ball 32 which included five fours and a six, but they were already too far behind to have a hope of catching up.

South Africa’s second and last warm-up match is against West Indies on Thursday at the same venue.