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Cricket World Cup; Australian bowlers pummeled by New Zealand star Sophie Devine

Australia are $1.75 favourites to win the World Cup but were given a rude pre-tournament awakening by a New Zealand powerhouse.

A lesson on how not to bowl to superstar New Zealand captain Sophie Devine was the walkaway lesson for Australia’s attack after a run-fest final World Cup warm-up match dominated by the Kiwi slugger showed who her tournament intent.

Just five days out from their World Cup opener against England nine Australian bowlers had no answer to an onslaught from Devine who smashed a mammoth 161 not out off just 111 balls as the home team easily reeled in what looked an ominous score of 321 in Christchurch.

Not only did the Kiwis chase down the Australian total, reached on the back of 87 from skipper Meg Lanning and 60 off just 32 balls from Ash Gardner, they did it with more than six overs to spare.

Considered the strongest challengers to the world-record holding Australian’s grip on tournament favouritism – the Aussies are $1.75 to win with the TAB – New Zealand’s batters showed their firepower hitting a mammoth 44 fours, including 23 from Devine alone, and four sixes to put the bowlers to the sword.

In their combined 10 overs Annabel Sutherland, Nicola Carey and Ash Gardner conceded 133 runs, with one over from Carey, who is fighting for a place in Australia’s best side, going for 19 runs as Devine punished her.

The Aussies took advantage of the practice-match rules and used nine bowlers but between them snared only the single Kiwi wicket with Devine and Amelia Kerr (92 off 75) putting on 206-runs after the one wicket fell at 119.

Earlier, Alyssa Healy pounded 64 from 71-balls opening the batting for Australia and Lanning was dropped twice and forced to lift her tempo after a slow start in her 86-ball innings which included nine fours and two sixes.

Superstar all-rounder Ellyse Perry didn’t bat for Australia after scoring a half-century against West Indies on Sunday, while Tahlia McGrath‘s stay at the crease lasted just five balls before she was out for a duck.

The Aussies will now begin preparing for the clash with England in Hamilton on Saturday which begins a whirlwind seven-game scheduled over just 20 days.

Australia’s ODI World Cup 2022 fixtures

Mar 5 v England, Seddon Park, Hamilton, 12pm AEDT

Mar 8 v Pakistan, Bay Oval, Tauranga, 12pm AEDT

Mar 13 v New Zealand, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT

Mar 15 v West Indies, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT

Mar 19 v India, Eden Park, Auckland, 12pm AEDT

Mar 22 v South Africa, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT

Mar 25 v Bangladesh, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT



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