Melbourne        -          Defeat in Australia’s first game ensured error-free cricket was needed thereon and they delivered in style to record their third successive win of the tournament.

Beth Mooney dominated with the bat with her 60 from 50 balls leading the charge after New Zealand had put the hosts in at Junction Oval. Wickets at regular intervals thwarted Sophie Devine’s side with leg-spinner Georgia Wareham brilliant with the ball, dismissing Suzie Bates, Maddy Green and the captain herself.

Katey Martin (37 not out) threatened to win the day but the White Ferns fell just four runs short of victory as their hopes of Women’s T20 World Cup glory ended in disappointment. But it wasn’t all perfection for Australia, with star all-rounder Ellyse Perry forced to leave the field with a hamstring injury midway through the chase.

“Ellyse has been a massive part of our squad and team for a long time and you can’t replace her,” said captain Meg Lanning. “But we’ve got 15 players here who can do a job and you need a squad to win a World Cup. You can’t rely on one or two players and use the same 11 players every game “We’re going to have to use the depth we’ve got — that’s just the reality of elite sport, unfortunately.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but I have full confidence that whoever comes in can play a role. “Today’s performance was our best of the tournament so far. I don’t think we could be better placed for the semi-finals.”

New Zealand skipper Devine added: “We let them off the hook at the end of the innings. It would have been a masterstroke at the end if we could have won. “Certainly skill-wise we’re there. Everyone knows we’re a really talented side. Whether it’s a mindset, game awareness of experience playing in those high-pressure situations. When we get back home, we’ll certainly go through everything.

“That’s the thing about Australia. It doesn’t matter who on the day but someone always seems to step up for them. “We’re actually really close. To think we’ve taken both Australia and India within five of six runs.”

BRIEFS SCORES

Australia 155 for 5 (Mooney 60) beat New Zealand 151 for 7 (Devine 31, Green 28, Wareham 3-17, Schutt 3-28).