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Australia book semi-finals berth after edging New Zealand in a nail-biter
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Australia book semi-finals berth after edging New Zealand in a nail-biter

A stylish 60 from Beth Mooney and controlled bowling Monday kept intact Australia's record of making at least the semi-finals of every Twenty20 World Cup in a nail-biting four-run win over New Zealand.

The defending champions and four-time winners join India, England and South Africa in the last four, with the games played in Sydney on Thursday.

Australia have been dominant since the World Cup was introduced 11 years ago, but were upset by India in the opening game of the tournament.

Rattled, they bounced back emphatically against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh before narrowly accounting for their trans-Tasman rivals, who leave the World Cup empty-handed.

The White Ferns won the toss and bowled at Junction Oval in Melbourne, snaring an early breakthrough. But Australia has incredible depth in its batting and Mooney led them to a competitive 155 for five.

Skipper Sophie Devine (31) and Katey Martin (37) led the chase, but Australia's bowlers were up to the task, with spinner Georgia Wareham taking three crucial wickets.

"It was a crunch game and I thought we handled it really well," said skipper Meg Lanning.

"I think we showed that we are able to be calm under the pump, we have done the basics right which gives us confidence going into the semi-finals."

One worry for Australia is the fitness of the world's top T20 all rounder Ellyse Perry, who limped off while fielding, seemingly with a hamstring problem.

New Zealand removed the dangerous Alyssa Healy cheaply with Lanning joining Mooney, but after an attacking 21 she was caught off Anna Peterson's bowling.

Ashleigh Gardner (20) shared in a quickfire 52-run stand with Mooney, who brought up her fifth half-century in nine innings off 42 balls.

Playing in her 50th T20, Moody finally departed for 60, but it needed a spectacular catch on the boundary from Suzie Bates to remove her.

Perry (21) and Rachael Haynes (19) added crucial late runs to power the score past 150. 

Rachel Priest looked dangerous as New Zealand set about the chase, hitting quick three fours, but she was undone by Jess Jonassen.

Australia piled pressure on when Wareham snared the world's number one T20 batswoman Bates for 14, leaving them in trouble on 55 for two at the halfway mark.

Devine knew she had to take risks and after reaching 31 charged down the wicket to Wareham and was stumped.

Maddy Green took on the attack in a lightning 28 but Wareham again pounced, with her wickets proving vital as New Zealand fell short.