Rising star blasts Australia to victory
"We needed the top order to stand up today, Meg and I certainly did that" ... Jess Cameron on her partnership with Meg Lanning, pictured. Photo: Getty Images
Rising star Meg Lanning blasted a brilliant century to ease Australia past New Zealand and secure top spot in their women's one-day international cricket World Cup group in Cuttack, India on Tuesday.
Chasing a score of 6-227, Australia reached their target with seven wickets and 11.4 overs to spare.
Lanning (112 off 104 balls) put on 182 in just over 28 overs with Jess Cameron (82 off 87), after opener Rachael Haynes (5 off 12) was dismissed with the score at 19 in the fifth over.
Renowned dasher Lanning smashed 17 fours and a six in her fourth ODI century in 18 innings.
Veterans Alex Blackwell (14 off 23 balls) and Lisa Sthalekar (8 off 6) completed the job, when the 20-year-old Victorian was dismissed with 14 runs needed.
Earlier NZ captain Suzie Bates (102 off 134) rescued her side after they slumped to 4-39 in the 13th over.
Pace bowler Megan Schutt (3-40) playing in just her fifth ODI, returned her best figures after nipping out the NZ top order.
She dismissed Lucy Doolan (9 off 12), Amy Satterthwaite (0 off 3), Sophie Devine (9 off 14).
When Sara McGlashan (1 off 12) was dismissed by Julie Hunter (1-17 off 6), Australia looked in control.
Bates put on 103 in 25 overs, with Katie Perkins (41 off 78) and 69 in 11 overs with with Nicola Browne (39 not out off 42).
It was Australia's third win from as many matches, ensuring they remained the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
Cameron said Lanning and herself had spoken a lot about the importance of building a big partnership.
"We needed the top order to stand up today, Meg and I certainly did that," Cameron said.
"To get one big partnership broke any of New Zealand's momentum."
She praised 20-year-old Schutt for her persistence and good line.
"She put the ball in the right areas and she doesn't give up," Cameron said.
On Monday, Cameron shaded Lanning for the Belinda Clarke Medal for being Australia's best performed female cricketer on the international stage.
"I didn't really think too much about it to be honest, it's obviously a great honour to win the Belinda Clarke Medal, but I'm here to win a World Cup and I wanted to do everything right today for the team," Cameron said.
Australia's first match in the Super Sixes phase on Friday will be against either England or Sri Lanka.