SYDNEY: Nicole Bolton and Meg Lanning scored unbeaten fifties to put on an unbroken 161-run stand for the second wicket to lead Australia to a nine-wicket win over South Africa in Sydney. The win handed Australia a 3-0 series victory with two matches still to be played.

A rain delay meant the match was reduced to 32 overs after South Africa opted to bat. The visitors lost Suné Luus and Dinesha Devnarain early but opener Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez joined forces in the ninth over and put on 110 off 104 deliveries to put South Africa in a strong position. Lee dominated the partnership – which ended with du Preez’s dismissal for 36 – and eventually went on to score her maiden ODI century. However, she could not prevent a South Africa collapse – they slipped from 143 for 2 in the 26th over to finishing on 173 for 8 as no other batsman reached double-figures. Medium-pacer Grace Harris (3 for 31) took two of those wickets, while three batsmen were run out.

Australia’s chase began with the early loss of opener Elyse Villani (13) in the first over, but South Africa had no further success. Lanning – who had put on a record 224 with Ellyse Perry in the second ODI with her ninth century – took charge of yet another partnership, scoring a 75-ball 80, while Bolton scored her first fifty of the series and sixth overall, with an 83-ball 77. Their partnership took Australia past the target with 4.5 overs to spare.

This was the last match of the ICC Women’s Championship, which Australia had already won last month after beating West Indies. South Africa, who had a shot at automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup at the beginning of this series, finished sixth and will have another shot at qualification along with India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand and Zimbabwe in the qualifying tournament early next year in Sri Lanka. England, New Zealand and West Indies sealed the other automatic qualification spots.