Australian skipper Meg Lanning said that she thoroughly understood the threats when she came in to bat at a crucial juncture against South Africa in the ICC Women’s World Cup match on Tuesday, adding that the need of the hour was to be patient and “get myself in” first before going for the shots.
Lanning made a tricky chase look easy as the 29-year-old batting stalwart hammered an unbeaten 135 off just 130 deliveries to guide the six-time Women’s World Cup champions to their sixth consecutive win in the tournament at Basin Reserve.
Thanks to another Lanning master-class, Australia remained unbeaten in the World Cup, chasing down the Proteas’ 271/5 in just 45.2 overs for an emphatic five-wicket victory.
Opener Alyssa Healy (1) was out in the third over and Rachael Haynes (17) followed her back to the pavilion in the 11th over to leave Australia in a spot of bother at 45/2. Lanning had a 60-run stand with Beth Mooney (21) and then an even better one of 93 with all-rounder Tahlia McGrath (32) that put Australia in a dominant position to cruise home.
“I thought today, in particular, I showed a bit more patience at the start, understanding the threats that were there with (SA bowlers) (Shabnim) Ismail and (Marizanne) Kapp. I left a number of balls, which is not normal for me, but I felt like that was the way to play this wicket to get myself in,” Lanning told ICC after the win.
Lanning made just under half of Australia’s runs as they whittled down their target with ease. It was another innings to add to the growing evidence that the 29-year-old is among the greatest chasers in women’s ODI cricket.
The right-hander has made 15 ODI centuries, the most by any woman, and 10 of them have come in chases. Only New Zealand’s Suzie Bates has made more than 10 centuries in ODI cricket (11) and just three of those have come in chases.
Lanning’s extraordinary stats don’t stop there. Her century on Tuesday was the top-order batter’s third in an ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup chase — no other batter has more than one in a World Cup batting second.
Lanning has equalled Bates, Claire Taylor of England and India’s Harmanpreet Kaur as the only women to score centuries at three consecutive World Cups and her 152 not out from the 2017 edition has been joined by Tuesday’s effort in the top three scores in a women’s ODI chase — Lanning has all three of them.
“It’s just about adjusting to the conditions that are in front of me. We all love to go out there and hit the ball well from ball one, but sometimes the conditions don’t allow that. You need to just adjust and get yourself in to really give yourself a chance,” said Lanning.
Lanning smashed 15 fours and one six as she reached a 92-ball century.
She identified a relaxed atmosphere as the key behind her and Australia’s fine showing in the tournament.
“As a team, we’re quite relaxed. We’re switched on when we need to be and we enjoy cricket. We enjoy being around each other and that’s the best part of this team. Even though it is at times tense out on the field, when you see that the bench has a relaxed mindset, that puts you at ease out in the middle.
“I didn’t see that today but it’s nice to hear. I think the more we enjoy our cricket and have smiles on our faces, the better we play,” added Lanning.