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Record-setting captain stars in stunning World Cup chase


A stunning catch from Australian all-rounder Ash Gardner in her 100th match was overshadowed by the ultimate captain’s knock from Lanning,who now has four more ODI hundreds than any female player in history and powered her team to a five-wicket win. Of those 15 ODI centuries, 10 have come in run chases and Lanning’s innings of 135 not out, from only 130 balls, was nearly half of Australia’s total as the tournament favourites inflicted the first loss on the Proteas as they chased down their target of 272 with 29 balls to spare. A potential back injury to superstar all-rounder Ellyse Perry, who left the field in the middle of Australia’s run chase and didn’t bat, was the only downside to Australia’s win but Lanning didn’t think it was a serious issue. “She could have come out to bat if she needed to.” Lanning said of Perry.“We tried to get through without her today. Hopefully it’s not serious and she’ll be back for the next game. The century from Lanning, who now averages nearly 70 in run-chases, came after she made 97 as Australia chased down 277 to beat India on Saturday in Auckland and as Australia again stamped it’s World Cup authority with just one pool game, against Bangladesh on Friday, to come before the semi-finals. “It’s been nice to contribute the last two games,” Lanning said in her understated fashion. “I was really clear what my plans were coming into these last two games so it was nice for it to come off and hopefully it can continue.”Already averaging over 50 in one-day cricket, Lanning reached triple-figures in just 92 balls, with 13 fours and a six to demoralise the opposition who had managed to remove two of Australia’s powerful top-order cheaply.But with superstar all-rounder Perry unable to come in to bat until number seven, Tahlia McGrath put on a quickfire 93-run partnership with Lanning to put victory in sight. Perry stayed in the sheds as first Gardner then Annabel Sutherland came out to join Lanning as they got their team home and ended South African’s unbeaten run at the World Cup. Six dropped five catches, including Lanning twice, the first time when she was on 115 and Australia still needed 65 to win, cost the South African’s dearly.   The Aussies opted to rest teenage fast bowler Darcie Brown for the game with Lanning suggesting they don’t want to overwork the 19-year-old with the finals still to come. “Darcie is an important player for us but we need to take care of her and make sure she‘s available for as many games as possible,” Lanning said. Australia is the only unbeaten team in the World Cup and has only lost one of 26 matches since October 2017.

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