Women’s Ashes: Australia thrash England to retain trophy

Women’s Ashes: First Twenty20, North Sydney Oval
England 132-9 (20 overs): Wyatt 50, Schutt 4-22
Australia 134-4 (15.5 overs): Mooney 86*
Australia won by six wickets; lead multi-format series 8-4

Australia retained the Women’s Ashes with an emphatic six-wicket victory over England in the first Twenty20 international in Sydney.

Victory gave the holders an 8-4 lead in the points-based series, meaning England can only draw 8-8 if they win the final two T20s.

England lost Heather Knight second ball and were 16-4, but Dani Wyatt’s maiden fifty helped them to 132-9.

Beth Mooney hit 86 not as Australia raced home with 25 balls to spare.

Having won the 50-over World Cup in fine style at Lord’s in July, England’s preparations for the Ashes were hampered by the two warm-up matches being washed out and they found themselves 4-0 down in the series after losing the first two one-day internationals.

A draw in the one-off Test kept the series alive into the T20s, but there was a bizarre start at the North Sydney Oval after Australia chose to field.

Knight edged to wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, who also took off the bails, but was temporarily reprieved as the umpires consulted, only to be sent to the pavilion again when the method of dismissal had been determined.

Key batter Sarah Taylor was adjudged lbw in the next over, with no review process in place to question whether the ball might have gone over or missed leg stump.

Ellyse Perry, international footballer and double centurion in the Test, was on a hat-trick in the fifth over after two more catches from Healy, with one outstanding effort millimetres from the turf at full stretch.

But Wyatt gave the innings much-needed impetus with some clean hitting down the ground.

However, the 26-year-old was halfway down the wicket when sent back by Fran Wilson in the 16th over and could not regain her ground.

England mustered a further 32 runs after her dismissal, but Mooney set the tone for Australia’s chase with a four and a six in an opening over from Katherine Brunt that cost 14.

Wyatt gave England a glimmer of hope when she raced around the mid-wicket boundary to pouch Healy’s hook in the fifth over.

But Mooney continued to dominate with a second six off Brunt and the fluent left-hander made the highest score by an Australian on home soil in women’s T20 matches, striking the winning runs in style with her 11th four.

The series concludes with two T20s at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, on Sunday at 03:35 GMT and Tuesday 21 November at 08:10.

‘We were always playing catch-up’ – what they said

England captain Heather Knight: “We were always playing catch-up. I am really proud of Dani Wyatt and how she fought to get us back in the game.

“Credit to Australia. Beth Mooney played an outstanding innings and took the game away. Everything we tried we couldn’t get her out.”

Australia skipper Rachael Haynes: “It was so nice for the team to come out and play like that. We started well with the ball but fell away. For Beth Mooney to come out and make a statement like that was fantastic.

“I couldn’t watch. I was pretty nervous, the most nervous I have been watching cricket. There was a lot composure in the middle and Mooney took control of that.”

Former England seamer Isa Guha on BBC 5 live sports extra: “Australia have won the big moments – that’s something England haven’t been able to capitalise on when they’ve been on top.”

BBC Sport


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