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Women's World Cup - group stage

Australia 269 beat South Africa 210 by 59 runs

AUSTRALIA sealed a semi-final against India with victory against South Africa, who will now play England in the last four as a result of the match in Taunton.

Nicole Bolton's 79 was the highlight of Australia's 269 all out, an innings which saw Sune Luus take 5-67 for South Africa, who then fell away in response after the dismissal of Laura Wolvaardt (71).

Having won the toss and opted to bat in overcast conditions, Australia's opening pair made a solid start against the new ball.

Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton both passed 50, and the opening stand was worth 114 when Mooney advanced down the wicket and was clean bowled by Ayabonga Khaka for 53.

As is so often the case, one wicket after a lengthy partnership quickly brought another as Rachael Haynes provided Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk with a simple return catch and departed for a duck.

Ellyse Perry joined Bolton and steadied the ship, helping Australia past the halfway mark before Sune Luus struck with consecutive balls at the end of the 29th over.

Bolton was the first to go, caught by Marizanne Kapp at extra cover for 79, and Elyse Villani was bowled round her legs with the next delivery to leave Australia 154-4.

The experienced Alex Blackwell combined with Perry, who hit an enormous six over long on off Luus on her way to a 51-ball half century, to take the score past 200, and South Africa then received a blow as pace bowler Masabata Klaas was withdrawn from the attack after two above waist-height full tosses. 

That was the cue for the reintroduction of Luus from the Somerset Pavilion End, and she continued to send down a real mixed bag of deliveries.

While Luus proved expensive, the temptation to hit the spinner out the ground proved too much for Perry (55), Alyssa Healy (16) and Ashleigh Gardner (4) to handle - each were caught trying to attack, the latter two excellently held by Moseline Daniels on the long off boundary as Luus finished with 5-67.

In between the spinner's haul, van Niekerk picked up her second wicket when Blackwell picked out Kapp, who then finished the innings in style as she dismissed Schutt and Beams with successive deliveries to see Australia bowled out for 269.

South Africa's response began brightly, with Wolvaardt finding regular early boundaires and her opening partner Lizelle Lee displaying some invention to keep the score rolling along nicely.

Lee (9) was the first to depart, however, sending a slog high into the air that was well caught by Haynes at mid-off.

Australia should have had a second breakthrough shortly afterwards, but Trisha Chetty was dropped by Schutt from Perry's second ball having scored just a single.

For a while it looked as though that could be costly, as both batters began to settle in and paced the early overs well - Wolvaardt moved to a 61-ball half century which included seven fours, the majority of which were sweetly struck through the covers.

A key turning point then came with the run out of Chetty, who came back for a risky second and saw her desparing dive fall inches short as Perry's throw from the deep mid-wicket boundary arrowed straight into the gloves of Alyssa Healy, who did the rest.

Chetty's departure for 36 left South Africa 99-2, but the Proteas were still in a strong position with wickets in hand at 132-2 after 30 overs.

Australia turned to Haynes to break the burgeoning partnership between Du Preez and Wolvaardt, and she ended up removing both in identical fashion within her first two overs.

Du Preez (20) fell to Haynes' very first delivery, picking out Ashleigh Gardner at deep mid-wicket, and Wolvaardt then repeated the trick to leave South Africa on 148-4.

From thereon in the result was never truly in doubt, especially once Kapp (19) became the second South African to be run out thanks to a direct hit from Blackwell at extra cover.

Van Niekerk and Khaka departed quickly as Proteas were reduced to 165-8 and, though the tail wagged, they were bowled out for 210 with the final ball of their allotted overs as Shabnim Ismail fell for 26.

The result means that South Africa will now face England, who topped the group after beating the West Indies, in Bristol on Tuesday, while Australia head to Derby to take on India.

The final takes place at Lord's next Sunday (July 23) and, though Taunton is to play no further part in this tournament, it was pleasing to see another strong crowd at the County Ground today to bid farewell to an event that has placed the town in the global cricketing spotlight.