Another big Alyssa Healy innings in a year full of them, followed by some tight bowling led by Ashleigh Gardner helped Australia sweep the three-match ICC Women’s Championship one-day international series against Pakistan on Monday, 22 October.
Healy scored a 75-ball 97 before Gardner hammered a 37-ball 62* as Australia posted a daunting 324/7 after opting to bat in the final ODI in Kuala Lumpur. Pakistan, in their chase, managed to get to 235/7 in their 50 overs, and Australia sealed an 89-run win.
Pakistan dismissed Nicole Bolton for a golden duck in the second over of the day – Sana Mir trapped her in front – and hopes were raised when captain Meg Lanning, who scored 124 in the second ODI, was sent back for a 25-ball 14 in the ninth over.
However, Australia displayed their batting depth when Ellyse Perry strode out and played a steadying knock – her 64-ball 32 was good support for Healy, and the opener could play her shots. The two added 108 for the third wicket before Healy was cleaned up by Diana Baig, agonisingly short of a second ODI century.
When Perry followed suit two overs later, Pakistan had another opening. Once again, though, Australia flexed their batting muscle, with Rachael Haynes and Beth Mooney adding 74 for the fifth wicket. Haynes scored a 37-ball 30 and Mooney a 36-ball 38, but both fell in consecutive overs, to Mir and Aliya Riaz, and Australia were 225/6.
It was then that Gardner turned up all guns blazing. Her 37-ball knock comprised six fours and three sixes, and with support from Sophie Molineux (26), Australia took their total well past the 300-run mark.
Pakistan never really threatened to chase that down. They had an encouraging start when Nahida Khan and Muneeba Ali put on 49 for the opening wicket in the first 10 overs. Ali was kept to a 24-ball 15 before Gardner had her walking, but Khan kept going.
Khan added 21 with Sidra Ameen for the second wicket before falling to Nicola Carey. But Javeria Khan, the captain, didn’t last long, and suddenly, Pakistan were 82/3.
There on, it was slow progress. Pakistan couldn’t really go after the bowling as they needed to, and though all of Ameen (41 off 74), Nida Dar (30 off 37), Riaz (51 off 69) and Mir (26 off 24) contributed with solid scores, the required run-rate kept going up, and the scoreboard pressure mounted.
Riaz, however, did score her maiden ODI half-century, after putting on 40 with Ameen for the fifth wicket and then a fine 56 with Mir for the sixth. However, it was all too little too late for Pakistan as Gardner ended with 3/44.
The teams will now play a three-match Twenty20 International series, starting on Thursday.
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