Beth Mooney defies illness to lead Australia to T20 series victory over South Africa | Women’s cricket

Beth Mooney rose from her hospital bed and scored a masterful 82 with the bat as Australia recovered from a shock T20 defeat to South Africa.

The opener’s 55-ball knock helped Australia move past the visitors’ 162-7 with five wickets in hand and four balls remaining to clinch the series within a series 2-1 in Hobart on Tuesday night.

Mooney, who scored an unbeaten 72 in the first T20 match, hit the ball cleanly from the start and finished with 11 fours and a six.

She regularly lost partners and was out in the 18th over, leaving her side needing 14 runs off 13 balls to win.

Ash Gardner (26 not out from 17 deliveries) held his nerve and sealed the result with a boundary.

South Africa previously posted their highest T20 score against Australia, led by Marizanne Kapp’s career-best 48-ball 75.

South Africa forced a decisive T20 match after recording their first women’s win over Australia in any format on Sunday, bringing the table level to 1-1.

The three T20 matches are part of a multi-format series that includes three ODIs and a Test match.

Australian captain Alyssa Healy revealed that Mooney was a bit “under the weather” and could have missed the game.

“Everything I’ve heard is maybe some questionable sashimi,” Healy said.

“I texted her around one o’clock in the afternoon and said, ‘Are you OK?’ She sent me back a selfie of her laying in bed and saying, “I think I need some fresh air.”

“There was a real possibility she wouldn’t play. She got to the floor, warmed up well and felt like she could contribute.”

After her team was sent out to bat, Kapp helped South Africa recover from a shaky 3-28 in the fifth over.

The all-rounder shared an 80-run partnership off just 57 balls with Anneke Bosch, who supported well with 21.

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Kapp’s score in her 100th T20 international surpassed her previous best of 56 and came after she was dismissed on 19 in the outfield.

She was dismissed in the 17th over when a slower ball from Tahlia McGrath crashed into the stumps.

“(After the bad start) years ago we probably would have been eliminated with 80-100,” Kapp said.

“The way we fought with the bat and ball was so beautiful to see and we can only get stronger as a team.”

South Africa’s Chloe Tryon scored an important 26 from 16 balls towards the end of the innings before being caught and bowled by spinner Georgia Wareham in the 18th over.

Wareham was Australia’s most economical bowler with 1-25 from four overs, while the speedy Darcie Brown (0-27 from two overs) fended off a few blows after missing out in the final game.

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