The Australian women’s cricket team has broken the world record for most consecutive ODI victories, bettering Ricky Ponting’s all-conquering 2003 side.
Meg Lanning’s side registered their 22nd consecutive ODI win on Sunday, defeating New Zealand by six wickets in Mount Maunganui.
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Australia has not lost a 50-over match since October 2017, their winning streak including series victories over India, Pakistan, New Zealand, England, the West Indies and Sri Lanka.
The previous record was set by the Australian men’s team in 2003, which included their unbeaten World Cup campaign in Africa.
“I’m sure they want to be regarded and remembered as one of Australia’s best sporting teams — male or female,” Ponting told cricket.com.au this week.
“Their performances for five or six years now certainly has backed that up.
“I guess they probably have had more of a chance to think about it than what we did. Ours seemed to happen quite quickly and we were playing games (in quick succession), but they’ve had a long time now sitting on this equal number of wins to think about it.”
LONGEST ODI WINNING STREAKS
22* — Australia Women, 2018-2021
21 — Australia Men, 2003
17 — Australia Women, 1997-1999
16 — Australia Women, 1999-2000
16 — India Women, 2016-2017
After being asked to bat first, the New Zealanders were cruising at 2/159 after 38 overs with opener Lauren Down recording a career-best 90.
But the Kiwis lost 8/53 in a horror collapse at the death before eventually being bowled out for 212.
Australian seamers Megan Schutt and Nicola Carey were the chief destroyers with the ball, claiming 4/32 and 3/34 respectively.
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In response, the visitors lost two early wickets with opener Rachael Haynes and captain Meg Lanning dismissed in the Powerplay.
But powerhouse batter Alyssa Healy and all-rounder Ellyse Perry combined for a crucial 78-run partnership to prevent an early collapse.
Healy finished on 65, her 68-ball knock featuring seven boundaries and two sixes, while Perry guided the tourists home with a classy 56 not out.
It was her 28th half-century in ODI cricket, the third most for any Australian woman in history.
She was well-supported by the explosive Ash Gardner, who cracked an unbeaten 53 off just 40 balls to help Australia reach the target with 69 balls to spare.
Australia take a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series, with the second game scheduled for Wednesday.