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Cricket - 08. March 2009.

Rain wrecks Australia’s World Cup opener


The Duckworth-Lewis method and an inopportune batting stumble conspired to give New Zealand a 13-run win over the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars in their opening ICC Women’s World Cup match at North Sydney Oval today.


Chasing New Zealand’s 205, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars were 13 runs short of the par score under the Duckworth-Lewis calculation when rained stopped play for a second time at the end of the 33rd over with the home team sitting at 6-132.


With rain threatening play for most of the match, Australia was well-positioned at 4-98 before losing a pair of quick wickets to fall behind the Duckworth-Lewis calculation when rain forced an early end to the match.


“It’s disappointing to lose this way because I thought Jodie Fields and Ellyse Perry were going well when the rain came,” Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars captain Karen Rolton said.


“I thought the New Zealanders bowled really well. They put the pressure on us and we made the mistakes.


“We’ll continue to be positive for the rest of the tournament and try to win our remaining group matches. There’s still a long way to go in the tournament and a lot of games to play, so anything can still happen.


“In the last two Rose Bowl Series we’ve come back from 2-1 and 2-0 down. It’s not something we like (having to come from behind) but it throws out the challenge to us to perform as well as we can for the next few games.


“I don’t know if I’ve actually lost many games (at the World Cup). Probably the final in 2000 is one, so it’s a good challenge and I know the team will be fighting hard to change the result from today.”


After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Australia produced a good fightback after New Zealand had worked hard to enter the final 10 overs in a promising position.


Haidee Tiffen (57) anchored the innings with New Zealand reaching 3-171 before her wicket sparked at late order collapse. The White Ferns lost 5-9 in four overs before being bowled out in the 48th over.


The right-arm off-spin of New South Wales duo Erin Osborne (2-37) and Lisa Sthalekar (2-35) started the wickets tumbling before quick bowlers Perry (3-40) and Emma Sampson (1-33) returned to finish the New Zealand innings.


After losing an early wicket, captain Karen Rolton and Shelley Nitschke played freely and got Australia off to a fast start.


Her dismissal, followed quickly by that of Lisa Sthalekar, slowed the scoring as the run rate hovered just above the required level.


Australia’s chase was aided by three dropped catches in the opening 20 overs before Nicola Browne held on to a tough chance to dismiss Jessica Cameron and swing the match back in her team’s favour.


That catch, coupled with Lauren Ebsary’s departure six balls later, was the turning point of the match, reducing the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars to 6-100 and pushing the Duckworth-Lewis par score out of Australia’s reach.


The rain which had threatened to interrupt play from the start of the match eventually forced players from the field after the 31st over. Another rain delay three overs after the resumption proved decisive, with the match called in New Zealand’s favour with Australia 14 runs short of victory according to the revised formula.


When the rain arrived, Jodie Fields (26 not out) and Ellyse Perry (17 not out) looked comfortable and were scoring at a steady rate however they were unable to edge Australia above the required score.


Australia’s next match at the ICC Women’s World Cup is against South Africa at Newcastle on Tuesday. The team will travel to Newcastle tomorrow and train at Sports Ground No.1 tomorrow afternoon from 2pm.


Tickets to ICC Women’s World Cup matches start at just $5 and a tournament pass can get you into all matches for only $35. For further information on the ICC Women’s World Cup, visit www.cricket.com.au/wwctickets.


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