|| AFP ||
Australia recovered from a shaky start to demolish New Zealand by 141 runs in Wellington Sunday and underscore their status as Women's Cricket World Cup favourites.
New Zealand did well to contain Australia to 269-8 after winning the toss and opting to bowl, only for the six-time champions to bounce back and skittle the host nation for 128 with 19.4 overs to spare.
New Zealand are regarded as a realistic chance to make the final of the one-day showcase, but the lopsided result is a warning to all teams in the tournament that Australia remain the gold standard.
While their top order had a rare off day, Australia's batting depth shone through, highlighted by half-centuries from Ellyse Perry and Tahlia McGrath.
"That's the beauty of our batting line-up, we've got some players who can rescue an innings and build the platform that allows us to play like we did at the back end," captain Meg Lanning said.
New Zealand made a excellent start with the ball. Alyssa Healy departed for 15 with a mis-timed pull shot as she tried to lift the run rate, followed by Lanning on five.
Australia were reduced to 56-3 when Rachael Haynes was bowled by Lea Tahuhu for 30 in the 16th over and limped to 113-4 before Beth Mooney dragged the ball on to her stumps, also for 30.
Perry and McGrath then combined for a crucial 101-run stand.
Ashleigh Gardner contributed a quickfire cameo of 48 runs from 18 balls but Australia's total looked within reach.
Tahuhu was the pick of New Zealand's bowlers with 3-53.
The home side never looked close to achieving the 270-run target as Australia's bowlers set about dismantling their batting line-up.
Teen speedster Darcie Brown had the best figures with 3-22 but the entire attack contributed to a dominant performance.
Amy Satterthwaite offered the only real resistance for New Zealand with 44, but the rest of their batters failed to fire.