Meg Lanning set a new record for the highest individual score in women’s T20 internationals with an unbeaten 133 off 63 balls, as Australia demolished England to move 10-2 up in the Ashes series.
If England were to record a victory against Australia, it was most likely to have been here at Chelmsford, where prior to Friday, 26 July, they had won each of the 14 matches they’d played. The early wicket of Alyssa Healy, dismissed by Kate Cross in the opening over, suggested that the record might continue.
But it quickly became clear it wasn’t to be, the second-wicket partnership between Beth Mooney and Lanning taking the game away from the hosts. The pair put on 134 in 70 deliveries, hitting the rotating cast of English bowlers to all corners of the ground. When Mooney departed on 54, a leading edge taken at mid-off from the bowling of Ecclestone, the run-rate was over 11 and spectators and commentators alike had half an eye on batting records.
Ash Gardner supported well, clubbing 27 from 14, but all eyes were on Lanning. The previous high score was 126 – just a month ago Sterre Kalis of the Netherlands had equalled Lanning's own effort from 2014. This mark Lanning surpassed with a six in the penultimate over. Her 133 came from 63 balls, including 17 fours and seven sixes.
With a target of 227, England needed a strong start to stand a chance, but they couldn’t have started much worse. Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt got the ball to swing, something notably absent from the Australian innings, and openers Danni Wyatt and Amy Jones were both dismissed for a duck.
Tammy Beaumont followed soon after to reduce England to 12/3, by which stage the match was decisively Australia’s. Still, there were 17 overs for England to bat – overs that served only to prove the Australians bowlers’ mastery of conditions. Even small acts of resistance were hard to come by, although Winfield and Brunt put on a partnership of 39 before the former was deceived by a slower ball from Schutt.
England's defeat, by 97 runs, was their heaviest in T20Is; they couldn't even outscore Lanning.
The result confirmed Australia will claim an outright Ashes win in the multi-format series. England will continue their search for a victory in the second T20I on Sunday, 28 July, at Hove.
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