England went down by 57 runs after Australia put up a women’s T20I record 209/4.
Honours were even for the first few overs of the Twenty20 International triangular series final, but once Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani teed off it was one-way traffic as Australia first put up a record total of 209/4 and then stopped England at 152/9, 57 runs short of their target.
Natasha Farrant gave England the perfect start after Danielle Hazell, leading the team in the absence of the injured Heather Knight, won the toss and opted to field. Off just the fourth ball of the game she trapped the in-form Beth Mooney in front for a first-ball duck, and Australia were 1/1.
Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner, however, ensured the joy didn’t last for too long for England, as they scored quickly in a 61-run stand for the second wicket. Healy targeted Farrant, slamming the left-arm pacer for a four and a six in the third over, and Gardner then took on Sophie Ecclestone, the left-arm spinner, hitting her for two sixes in the fourth as Australia raced away, reaching 52/1 by the end of the Powerplay.
The stumble came when Jenny Gunn was handed the ball in the eighth over. The England fielders had looked out of sorts till then, but when Gardner hit Gunn high up on the leg-side, things somehow fell into place. For a while, Amy Jones, the wicket-keeper, and Natalie Sciver, the mid-wicket fielder, seemed to wait for the other to call for it before Jones dived forward and clutched on. Gardner was gone for a 20-ball 33 with three fours and as many sixes.
One wicket led to another later in the over as Healy made room for the cut but only edged Gunn on to her stumps to walk back for 33, her runs coming in 24 balls with five fours and a six.
That left Australia at 66/3 in 7.3 overs, but England had to wait for the third ball of the last over for their next spot of success as Lanning and Villani took the game away from them in style.
Every over from the 11th of the innings to the 16th had at least two boundaries scored – four of them on two occasions – as the two experienced hands put England to the sword. The halfway mark of the innings had come with Australia on 80/3, and Lanning and Villani just took off after that. Overs 11 to 16 went for 11, 17, 12, 17, 12 and 16 runs respectively, Lanning bringing up her half-century with her 11th hit to the fence, this one a fortuitous shot as it could have been caught at mid-on.
That didn’t deter either batter as they sped on, Villani getting to her half-century with a four and a two off Farrant in the 19th over of the innings, by which time Lanning was already on 85. Villani was run out in the last over for a 30-ball 51, with eight fours, but there was enough time for England to drop another catch and for Australia to get to 209/4, the highest team total in women’s T20I cricket. Their captain ended unbeaten on 88, scored off just 45 balls with 16 of them going for fours and one for a six.
Highest totals in women's T20Is
|209/4||Australia||England||31 March 2018 - Mumbai|
|205/1||South Africa||The Netherlands||14 October 2010 - Potchefstroom|
|199/3||England||India||25 March 2018 - Mumbai|
|198/4||India||England||25 March 2018 - Mumbai|
|191/4||Windies||The Netherlands||16 October 2010 - Potchefstroom|
|191/4||Australia||Ireland||27 March 2014 - Sylhet|
If England’s fielding was poor, Australia’s was on the money from the start, Amanda-Jade Wellington doing well to run Bryony Smith out before she had faced a ball in the first over itself. If that was bad, it got worse for England very quickly with Tammy Beaumont going for a big drive first ball off Ellyse Perry and nicking behind, leaving England 14/2.
Danielle Wyatt did provide the initial impetus with a 17-ball 34, inclusive of seven hits to the fence, but England were always playing catch up and, despite their best efforts, falling short.
Wyatt was dismissed by Delissa Kimmince in the fifth over with the total on 47/3, and England had their best period with the bat after that, as Jones and Sciver partnered for the fourth wicket with 51 runs.
Jones looked good for her 30 in 28 balls, and Sciver even better, adding a further 40 runs with Fran Wilson. Once Sciver was gone, there wasn’t much resistance left in the England camp, and they just about managed to bat out their 20 overs before finishing second best.
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