Alana King (2/24) and Alyssa Healy (72) helped Australia register a comfortable seven-wicket win against Pakistan in their clash at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday.
Chasing a modest target of 191, Australia openers Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes went at a decent rate, putting the bad deliveries away to lay down the perfect platform for their side. They were helped by some shoddy fielding from Pakistan, as both the openers got a second life with their catches going down.
Aliya Riaz put down Healy at mid-wicket, spilling a simple catch off the bowling of Anam Amin in the sixth over. Haynes was also let off the hook in the following over with Nida Dar missing a sitter off her own bowling after a lovely flighted delivery outfoxed the left-handed batter.
Pakistan would finally get a breakthrough in the 11th over as Haynes was dismissed by Nashra Sundhu for a run-a-ball 34. Haynes went down the track to clear the fielder at mid-wicket but failed to do so, with skipper Bismah Maroof taking a simple catch.
Meg Lanning walked out and then stitched a partnership with Healy, with Australia edging closer to victory. Healy would bring up the 14th half-century of her career in only 55 deliveries as the pair looked largely untroubled by the Pakistan bowlers.
There would be a glimmer of hope for Pakistan though, as Lanning perished against Omaima Sohail in the 22nd over. Attempting a cut against a tossed up delivery, Lanning chopped the ball onto her stumps to walk back for 35. Ellyse Perry then joined Healy at the crease, with the experienced pair hoping to get Australia over the line.
At the halfway stage in the innings, Australia were 142/2, needing another 49 runs for a victory.
Healy would finally depart for 72 in the 28th over, with Omaima Sohail picking up her second scalp. A flighted delivery again paid dividends as Healy could not resist a big shot. Going down the track, she hit the ball straight at long-on. Nashra Sundhu made no mistakes but Healy had done her job perfectly, as Australia were cruising home to a victory.
Perry (26*) and Beth Mooney (23*) then ensured that there were no further hiccups for the tournament favourites, as Australia chased down the target with 92 deliveries remaining.
With the victory, Australia made it two victories in two while Pakistan’s search for their first win since the 2009 edition of the tournament continued.
Earlier, Australia had won the toss and opted to bowl first. They made two changes to the side that defeated England on Saturday, with Carey and Wellington included in the playing XI at the expense of Tahlia McGrath (heel) and Darcie Brown. For Pakistan, Javeria Khan was out injured, with Nahida Khan taking her spot.
Bismah Maroof (78*) and Aliya Riaz (53) paced Pakistan with a 99-run stand for the fifth wicket to help their side to a score of 190/6 against the powerful Australians at Bay Oval.
Maroof was in particular impressive, hitting eight boundaries during her unbeaten 122-ball stay as she ensured Australia would have to score at almost four runs per over to remain unbeaten at the tournament.
Experienced seamers Megan Schutt (1/43) and Ellyse Perry (1/27) picked up a wicket apiece during their opening spell and spinners Alana King (2/24) and Amanda-Jade Wellington (1/25) got in on the act to reduce Pakistan to 44/4 after 13 overs.
While Maroof and Riaz didn’t score quickly to begin with, they played with extreme caution and cleverly moved the field around to put together a memorable stand.
Nicola Carey trapped Riaz in the 45th over to end the valuable partnership, but there was no stopping Maroof as she batted through right until the end to make sure Australia had something to chase.