AUSTRALIA WOMEN 178/2 (20 OVERS)
EA Perry* 22 (20)
BL Mooney* 117 (70)
KH Brunt 1/25
S Ecclestone 1/34
ENGLAND WOMEN 181/6 (19 OVERS)
DN Wyatt 100 (57)
HC Knight 51 (37)
DM Kimmince 2/30
JL Jonassen 2/25
England pulled off a stunning chase at the Manuka Oval in the third T20 international to level the Ashes series 8 all. Though Australia retained the Ashes trophy on account of having won the last Ashes series, England would have been mighty pleased with the dramatic finish to their Ashes campaign.
They also broke the record for the highest successful T20 international chase in their pursuit of a target of 179.
Until 21st November, Tuesday Australia had witnessed zero centuries in women’s T20 cricket internationals. Like the London buses, after a long wait the tons came along in a pair. It was a tale of two centuries, a first in women’s T20Is.
The openers Beth Mooney and Danielle Wyatt were the star players for Australia and England respectively. Mooney’s ton was the highest T20I score in Australia while Wyatt’s was the first for England in T20Is. Wyatt’s was also the first ever T20I century in a chase in women’s cricket. Both the tons though could not have come about in more contrasting situations.
After Australia elected to bat on winning the toss, Mooney set about punishing England’s bowlers from the very start. She continued with her golden T20I form, flaying the bowlers to all parts of the ground. Her clean crisp stroke-making was punctuated with some audacious shots like the reverse scoop towards fine leg. A chanceless innings, it also became the second highest T20I score in women’s cricket. Alyssa Healy, Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry played able supporting roles. Boundaries were hit in almost every over of the Australian innings. Mooney signed off the Australian innings in style with four consecutive boundaries. England were sloppy in their ground fielding.
However, it was nothing compared to the shoddy catching that Australia went on to exhibit.
Australia got off to a great start bagging Tammy Beaumont’s wicket in the very first over of the chase. She was caught by Ashleigh Gardner off Jess Jonassen while trying to clear mid-off. England appeared very jittery akin to their batting in the first T20I. Sarah Taylor departed soon after for 5 runs to a low diving catch by Rachael Haynes and Jonassen had bagged 2 wickets in 2 overs.
Australia thought they had Wyatt in the bag too when a top edge went high up in the air, Healy camped under it. However, the ball slipped through her gloves, the drop proving to be the first in a long line of missed opportunities.
Villani produced a searing direct throw to account for Natalie Sciver. England were 30-3 and looked just about ready to throw in their towel and wave the white flag. However perhaps the drop emboldened Wyatt for she went to feature in a century stand with her captain Heather Knight. Both the players took their chances and took on the Australian bowlers hitting fearlessly over the top.
Knight was the next to receive a life when Molly Strano spilled a sitter at short fine leg. She earned her second reprieve when Megan Schutt dropped a simple catch near the deep square boundary. In the very next over, Healy was the culprit once again and Knight the benefiter. Perhaps Australia had angered the catching deities.
Meanwhile Wyatt and Knight, a good name for an Arthurian buddy-cop movie, made the most of their opportunities plundering boundaries in between the drops. They brought down the equation to 12 from 18 balls and swung the game England’s way.
Shortly after completing her half century, Knight was run out by Healy while making a lazy attempt to get back to her ground. Soon Wyatt brought up her dazzling century. Like Mooney she was also on a purple patch in the T20Is and looks to have made the openers spot her own. Her diminutive frame and laconic behavior belie the powerful hitter that resides within.
She was bowled in the next over to briefly fire up Australia’s hopes again with two new batters at the crease. However Fran Wilson and Katherine Brunt ensured there were no further hiccups to complete a breathtaking reversal.