Beth Mooney’s ’superhuman’ knock seals Australian win against South Africa in third T20I

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Australia have responded from Sunday’s shock loss to South Africa, claiming a series deciding win in Tuesday’s T20 clash at Blundstone Arena in Hobart.

After they were beaten for the first time in any format by the Proteas at Manuka Oval on Sunday, the host nation withstood a best-ever total of 7-162 from South Africa to take the three match series 2-1 with a five-wicket final-over win.

In-form opener Beth Mooney (82 off 55) was the linchpin for the Aussies who lost both captain Alyssa Healy (10 off 7) and Ellyse Perry (13 off 10) inside the first seven overs.

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“She just put the foot down and backed her stroke play,” Aussie great Rachael Haynes said of Mooney on Fox Cricket.

“She trusted her swing right through the line of the ball, relocated on different occasions – probably favouring more going to the off-side than what we’ve seen in the past. It felt like at times during that innings that she was just toying with the bowlers.

“A fantastic innings for Australia. It would’ve done her confidence the world of good, finding some rhythm at the right time … she was exceptional.”

Once again winning the toss, Australia’s decision to bowl first rather than bat as they did two days prior looked to be a masterstroke early with South Africa at 3-28 after the first five overs.

But an 80-run partnership between Marizanne Kapp (75 off 48) and Anneke Bosch (21 off 24) helped get their innings back on track and guide the visitors to a defendable total of 7-162 — their highest ever score against Australia in a T20I.

But Mooney’s terrific knock, her second half-century of the series after an unbeaten 72 in game one, proved to be enough though for Australia to secure a second win in as many years in Hobart.

It came despite her feeling “pretty unwell” out in the middle.

“Not my best day as a human being, I’ll put that out there. But managed to get the job done for the team when it mattered,” Mooney told Fox Cricket post-match.

The two sides will now turn their attention to the ODI leg of their multi-format series with Australia holding a 4-2 points advantage heading into Saturday’s clash in Adelaide.

“They (South Africa) have played some very good cricket … to get ahead going into those ODIs, we know how crucial those points are. It was a very good win from the girls,” Mooney said.

CAREER-BEST KAPP

She came into the deciding contest with just 21 series runs to her name but a stellar 75-run knock saw Marizanne Kapp leave Hobart with a career-best T20 innings.

Coming to the crease at 1-1 with a previous career-best of 56, Kapp provided a level head and a damaging swing with a 73m six directly after notching up her half-century the highlight of her 48 ball innings.

The 34 year-old, who survived a dropped catch in the outfield on 19, finally came unstuck four overs later from a Talia McGrath yorker but ended the night with the highest ever score by a female South African player against Australia.

HEALY HISTORY

While she may have only added a further 10 runs to her illustrious T20 career total on Tuesday night, it was still enough to etch Australian captain Alyssa Healy into the record books.

Already one of Australia’s finest ever to play the game, Healy’s 10 off seven saw her reach 6,007 T20 international career runs and become the fourth Australian women’s cricketer to clock up the extraordinary feat of 6,000 runs.

“I feel like I’ve played way too many games and should have scored more than that but a nice statistic,” Healy told Fox Cricket during the broadcast.

— NCA NewsWire

Originally published as Beth Mooney’s ’superhuman’ knock seals Aussie win despite South Africa record