Australia make it four from four

Australia produced an imperious performance against Pakistan as it cruised to its fourth straight ICC Women’s World Cup victory by 159 runs in Leicester.

The defending champion first demonstrated its batting prowess as Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani (pictured) and Alyssa Healy all made half-centuries to help Australia recover from 60 for three to set a daunting 291 to win.

Australia then made light work of a resilient Pakistan batting line-up as spinners Kristen Beams and Ashleigh Gardner took six wickets to limit its opposition to 131 and took another step closer to the semi-finals.

Batter Villani said: “It was really nice to grab a win and it was a good performance all round today.

“Ellyse Perry and Rachael Haynes built a crucial partnership after a shaky start so that gave the rest of us a lot of confidence to contribute and we were very happy with our total.

“The bowlers did a great job today and they were pretty impressive in limiting Pakistan and we move on to the next game with plenty of confidence.”

Australia, without its inspirational captain Meg Lanning, made a disastrous start after Beth Mooney edged an Asmavia Iqbal ball in the first over to leave the defending champion one for one.

The Southern Stars side was on the ropes and it got even worse when Diana Baig trapped Nicole Bolton leg before wicket to leave Australia reeling at seven for two.

Baig and Asmavia were putting in a fine display with the white ball, limiting Australia to just 18 from the first 10 overs.

Stand-in captain Rachael Haynes was out caught behind off the bowling of Sidra Nawaz.

But an explosive innings from Villani helped assert Australia’s dominance as she smashed a 34-ball half-century, bringing the 50 up with her fourth maximum straight down the ground.

Perry was calmness personified at the other end as a quick-fire 63 from 40 deliveries by Healy, her highest ODI total, helped Australia set an imposing 291 to win.

Pakistan started in similar fashion to Australia after Jess Jonassen bowled Bibi Nahida as she was trying to play across the line second over.

It was a fine day for Aley as she picked up her first two ODI wickets as Australia chipped away at a dogged Pakistan.

Sana’s gutsy 45 was the one bright spark in a Pakistan innings that never really got going and came 160 runs short.

The result leaves Pakistan with a mountain to climb if it has to finish in the top four of the group stage and qualify for the semi-final.

Pakistan captain Sana Mir said: “In the first 25 to 30 overs we were pretty much on the mark with the ball, we just need to make sure we improve our bowling in the final overs.

“We need to improve on our batting for sure. We cannot just have one batter making a big total, other batters need to step up to the mark and that’s really important to help us improve."

Credit: ICC 

Photo credit: ICC/Getty Images