Women's Cricket World Cup

Proteas taste defeat for first time at World Cup after Lanning masterclass

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Meg Lanning of Australia is congratulated by Mignon du Preez of South Africa (Getty)
Meg Lanning of Australia is congratulated by Mignon du Preez of South Africa (Getty)

The Proteas have tasted defeat for the first time at the Women's World Cup in New Zealand, losing by 5 wickets to tournament favourites Australia in Wellington on Tuesday. 

SCORECARD| Proteas v Australia

The sides entered the contest as the only two undefeated sides left in the competition, and South Africa would have felt pretty good about their chances after positing 271/5 from their allotted 50 overs having been sent in to bat. 

Opener Laura Wolvaardt (90 off 134) was the star again as she carded her fourth successive half-century of the tournament, while there were signs of a return to form from Lizelle Lee (36 off 44). 

Skipper Sune Luus (52 off 51) was brilliant coming in at No 4, while Marizanne Kapp (30* off 21) and Chloe Tryon (17* off 9) finished strong. 

An upset was on the cards when Australia found themselves at 14/1 and then 45/2 in their run chase, but a stunning century from captain Meg Lanning (135* off 130) was ultimately the difference. 

It didn't help that the Proteas lost seamer Masabata Klaas to a shoulder injury, and Tumi Sekhukhune (0/68 in 7) was hurt badly in her first appearance of the competition. 

Shabnim Ismail (2/33 in 7) and Tryon (2/44 in 8) took wickets at key times to keep the Proteas alive, but Lanning was batting on another planet and showed exactly why this Australian side is expected to lift the trophy on April 3. 

For South Africa, the No 2-ranked side in ODI cricket, this will serve as a marker of how much they need to improve if they are to find a way to bag their country's first-ever Cricket World Cup crown. 

The Proteas have been hugely impressive at the competition so far, but they are simply not on Australia's level presently. 

Nobody is. 

The Proteas are next in action on Thursday when they take on West Indies, also in Wellington. 

Having won four and lost one so far, they will be looking to secure qualification to the playoffs while also avoiding the Aussies in the semi-finals.  

Scores in brief:

SA 271/5 (Wolvaardt 90, Luus 52)

Australia 272/5 in 45.2 (Lanning 135*, Ismail 2/33, Tryon 2/44)

Australia won by 5 wickets with 28 balls to spare

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