Southern Stars v South Africa
Perry leads Stars to thrilling victory
Australia allrounder produces an incredible knock to seal victory with a ball to spare in the nation's capital
Laura Jolly at Manuka Oval, Canberra
18 November 2016, 08:25 PM AEST
The rapid reaction: What a thriller! South Africa nearly pulled off an historic maiden victory over Australia, but a career-best innings from Ellyse Perry saw the hosts home with just one ball remaining.
— Southern Stars 🌟 (@SouthernStars) November 18, 2016
The score: South Africa 5-226 off 50 overs (Luus 42, Perry 2-33) defeated by Australia 8-230 (Perry 93no, Luus 3-52) by two wickets with one ball to spare in the first ODI at Manuka Oval, Canberra.
The hero: Ellyse Perry loves Canberra! In Australia's only ODI against India at Manuka Oval earlier this year, the former local took four wickets and scored 90. This time, she took 2-33 from eight overs, including the key wicket of in-form opener Sune Luus, and followed it up with a superb fighting half-century that defied the trend as regular wickets fell at the other end. When it came down to the crunch and Australia needed 26 off 18 balls, with three wickets in hand, she pummelled a six, then two boundaries, before hitting the winning runs with one ball to spare. She finished on 93 not out, her highest ever one-day score.
The support cast: An economical display from in-form leg-spinner Kristen Beams (1-31 off 10) was also impressive and the leggie was unlucky not to walk away with another wicket or two, while she also executed a handy run out (read below).
The consolation effort: After South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk won the toss and opted to have a bat, in-form opener Sune Luus backed up her tour-match half-century with another fifty, top-scoring for her team with 52 from 90 balls. Luus followed up with the big wickets of Alex Blackwell and Jess Jonassen, before the late scalp of Megan Schutt, to finish with figures of 3-52.
The chase (part one): Early on, Australia's chase just didn't seem to click. Elyse Villani fell for just two runs in the first over, and captain Meg Lanning was fuming after being bowled for 18, leaving the hosts 2-39. Every time it looked as though the Southern Stars might have found the partnership they needed, another wicket fell – Nicole Bolton (18, 3-49), Blackwell (25, 4-101) and then Jonassen (21, 5-127). To their immense credit, the South Africans were fierce, confident and bold in the field and barely gave Australia an inch.
The chase (part two): With five wickets down, Perry found a very handy partner in Alyssa Healy, who looked in great nick during her run-a-ball 28. While it was unfortunate she couldn't carry on with her innings, she did exactly what she needed to do in lifting Australia's run-rate and staying with Perry, who, for her part, was simply brilliant.
The run out: Kristen Beams secured Australia's much-needed first wicket in the ninth over, and produced another piece of magic in the 37th. Proteas batter Mignon du Preez found herself the unlucky victim after the Australian got a finger to a straight drive from Marizanne Kapp, which caught her teammate short of her crease and on her way back to the dressing room for 37.
The record: South Africa's 5-226 was their highest ever ODI score against Australia, eclipsing the 197 they scored in Newcastle during the World Cup in 2009.
The wash-up: Australia and South Africa have a day to recover on Saturday before the second match of the series, also at Manuka Oval, on Sunday at 2.20pm AEDT. That match – like the entire series – will also be streamed live and free on cricket.com.au, while those in Canberra should get down to the ground and make the most of free entry and the 30 degree forecast!
Australia v South Africa ODIs
20 November: Manuka Oval, Canberra*
23 November: North Sydney Oval, Sydney*
27 November: Coffs Harbour International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
29 November: Coffs Harbour International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
* ICC Women's Championship matches