Familiar faces lead Stars win

Australia complete an undefeated series

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Powerhouse performances from Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani have lifted the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars to a 20-run win over Pakistan in their fourth and final Twenty20 International at the Gold Coast District Cricket Club.

The win, which proved less convincing than the world champions would have liked, sealed a 4-0 series sweep for Lanning’s charges and followed on from their one-day whitewash in Brisbane.

After the Southern Stars won the toss and opted to bat first, Villani was soon up to her old tricks, a straight Pakistan line seeing balls frequently disappear back over the bowler’s head and through the on-side.

Kimmince proved a handy foil at the other end, rotating the strike and manipulating the field with aplomb.

Travelling comfortably at 0-64 in the 10th over, Villani’s adventurousness eventually brought about her demise, with the first and third T20I player of the match bowled, attempting to cut through the vacant point region, for 42 off 40 deliveries.

Her opening partner joined her in the pavilion shortly after, Kimmince hitting a length delivery straight to the fielder at deep midwicket.

With plenty of overs still to play with, captain Lanning combined with Ellyse Perry to add a steady 25 to the total.

With the score on 103, Perry succumbed to a tight off-side field and a nagging length, skying an Asmavia Iqbal straight in the air to be caught by Marina Iqbal for 12.

A brutal display of power hitting from Lanning, including the first six of the series – a glorious swipe over cover – saw the home side reach 3-139 off their 20 overs.

Pakistan’s chase got off to the worst possible start, with Qanita Jalil, who was promoted from the lower order to open, lobbing Julie Hunter to Villani at long on who held onto the swirling high ball.

That wicket seemed to spark the tourists to life, with the usually docile Pakistan top order taking a particular liking to the Australian medium pacers – the pair blasting 24 off next three overs.

After going close to two whole series without a single six, there was suddenly a second, when Iqbal launched Megan Schutt over the deep square leg rope for maximum runs.

Bismah Maroof was given a life off the bowling of Erin Osborne shortly after, as a superb diving catch from Blackwell in the covers amounted to nought when the Stars were no-balled for having too many fielders outside the fielding restrictions circle.

Allrounder Kimmince eventually broke through for the Australians, with a short-of-a-length delivery keeping low enough to trap the dangerous Iqbal lbw for 38.

The world No.8 side has struggled to find middle-order runs throughout this T20 series, but Maroof and Nain Abidi did their best to buck the trend, adding 39 for the third wicket to have a most-unlikely win still a possibility after 15 overs.

Some clinical death bowling from the Southern Stars soon dashed those hopes however, with Osborne (1-25), Kimmince (2-26) and Farrell (2-20) closing out the 20-run win and sealing a 4-0 series sweep.

Lanning was named player of the match for her 28-ball 46, while Villani’s 181 runs at 60.33, with a strike-rate of 126.57, saw her take home the player-of-the-series award.

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