Two-time defending champions the Southern Stars have romped into the World Twenty20 semi-finals with a second consecutive record-breaking win, set up by a stellar unbeaten 90 to opener Elyse Villani.
Villani, recalled after being dropped from Thursday’s thrashing of Ireland, made the most of her opportunity with a destructive innings that included five sixes and set up the 94-run demolition of Pakistan on Saturday night to move to the top of Group A.
Australia will now progress as either the first or second seed, regardless of other results, having lifted their net run rate with monster victories over Ireland and Pakistan in their past two clashes.
In reply to Australia’s imposing total of 2-185, Pakistan were never in the chase in Sylhet – ultimately crawling to 9-91, with Sarah Coyte and Ellyse Perry the key destroyers, taking three wickets each.
Villani looked like emulating the deeds of her skipper, Meg Lanning, who blasted the first T20 by an Australian woman in Thursday’s win over Ireland.
She played a mature innings, negotiating a tricky opening to carry the bat in a stunning 54-ball effort, while getting great support from Alyssa Healy (20) and Lanning (50).
It is Australia’s second hefty total in as many games, and gives them serious momentum heading into the tournament’s knockout games.
“I think we’re hitting our straps and we’re building and we’re peaking,” Villani told AAP.
“The momentum is with us at the moment. We’re building at the right time.
“We started a bit slow in our warm game and our first loss against New Zealand.
“But our coach (Cathryn Fitzpatrick) said at that stage that we don’t want to be peaking then.
“Hopefully we can carry the momentum on to the finals.”
Villani admits she has struggled to unlock the secrets to translating her magnificent domestic form for Victoria to the international game, and was dropped after scoring just one against the Kiwis in Australia’s opening game.
But she couldn’t have been prouder of her maiden T20 international half century.
“I’m pretty elated that it’s all come together,” she said.
“I’ve got myself into trouble before when I’ve tried to go too hard too early and these are the sort of wickets where you need to give yourself a bit of time.
“So I just gave myself a bit of time and then kept it pretty simple, tried to go straight and had some good partnerships.
“I really enjoyed myself and let myself go a bit and came out on top which was a really nice feeling.”
On Sunday, undefeated New Zealand will face third-placed South Africa – with the winner progressing to the semi-finals alongside Australia.
Should New Zealand win, they will claim top spot in Group A, while South Africa will advance if they win – but the top seed will be determined by net run rate, with Australia currently holding a 0.174 NRR advantage.