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Villani goes bang! // Getty

Perfect game still elusive: Villani

Despite hammering South Africa, Australia are not content with their performance

Close, but still not perfect.

That was the verdict after Australia ticked off a major goal in their first official ICC Women’s World Cup warm-up against South Africa on Tuesday, running rampant in their final 10 overs to post 5-324.

Quick Single: Australia romp to warm-up win

That performance was led by a century from Elyse Villani at No.5 and backed up by 21 balls of carnage from Alex Blackwell and Alyssa Healy, who shared a 54-run, 3.3-over stand to propel Australia to the commanding total in Oakham.

The match wasn’t an official one-day international, but it is worth noting that Australia have only surpassed 300 four times in their ODI history, with the most recent of those coming in 2012.

With a focus on their batting fade-offs in the last 10 overs, Australia were a team on a mission after reaching the 40-over mark at 4-217, adding another 107 runs to finish on 5-324. 

After Villani departed at 5-270 in the 47th over, Alex Blackwell (32) and Alyssa Healy (25) added 54 runs from the final 21 balls in a late-innings rampage.

"I think we did really well at the back end of the innings to get ourselves to a good total," Villani said on Tuesday.

"Al and Alyssa came in and set the scene and then we brought that momentum into our bowling innings.

"It was really good how the girls finished off the innings with the bat, that was pretty special and definitely something we’ve been working on."

And all of this with a contribution of zero from captain and World No.1 batter Meg Lanning.

Villani crashed 13 fours and seven sixes // Getty
Villani crashed 13 fours and seven sixes // Getty


An all-round bowling performance then sealed a 103-run win, but Villani says Australia won’t be fooled into complacency before their World Cup campaign officially kicks off against West Indies in Taunton next Monday.

"That perfect game is pretty elusive, I think we’ll always find things to improve on," Villani said.

"I think that’s what the really good teams do, so I don’t think we’ll ever rest on our laurels.

"But it’s nice to see that we’re working on things and they’re coming to fruition.

"Maybe one day we’ll get that perfect game, we’ll wait and see."

Villani flayed the Proteas attack on her way to 137 from 112 deliveries, clearing the ropes seven times.

It was an ominous show from the 27-year-old, who has found a new lease on life in Australia’s middle-order since being demoted from opener last November.

Again, the century won’t go down in her ODI statistics, but it is a promising sign for Villani, whose sole half-century from 20 international one-dayers came against New Zealand in late February.

"It was nice but at the end of the day it doesn’t count for much," she said.

"It’s nice to spend some time in the middle and hopefully it puts me in good stead to perform for the team in the tournament."

Villani on song after warm-up century

There was no shortage of pressure when Villani came to the crease at 3-40 with Nicole Bolton, Beth Mooney and Meg Lanning all back in the dugout, but if Villani and Ellyse Perry were feeling the pressure, it didn’t show in their 164-run stand.

"There were a few short areas I thought I could target if the ball was there, I wanted to back myself and if the ball was there, I wanted to make sure I put it away," she said.

"Pez (Perry) is a pretty cool customer in the middle. We knew we needed to build a partnership, so it was good to have a good partnership with her.

"She’s pretty easy going so she’s a nice person to bat with in that situation."

Australia will meet Pakistan in their second and final warm-up match at Leicester’s Grace Road on Thursday.

They won’t be taking Pakistan lightly, either, after the seventh-ranked ODI team claimed a five-wicket win over West Indies in a warm-up match on Tuesday.

"We haven’t played a lot of games against them so they’re a bit of an unknown side," Villani said.

"It’ll be nice to go in there and not know too much about the opposition and therefore just really focus on own game as an individual and as a team.

"It’ll be a really good chance for us to hone in on our skills."


Women's World Cup 2017 Guide


Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington

Squads: Every World Cup squad named so far

Australia's World Cup schedule


View the full tournament schedule here


Warm-up matches


June 20: Australia v South Africa, Oakham


June 22: Australia v Pakistan, Leicester



Tournament


June 26: Australia v West Indies, Taunton


June 29: Sri Lanka v Australia, Bristol


July 2: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol


July 5: Pakistan v Australia, Leicester


July 9: England vAustralia, Bristol


July 12: Australia v India, Bristol


July 15: South Africa v Australia, Taunton


July 18: First semi-final, Bristol


July 20: Second semi-final, Derby


July 23: Final, Lord's


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