In the first of three double-header matches with the men, this women’s T20 match had a lot more at stake than the men’s match….The Ashes were up for grabs, with the Southern Stars fighting their way back into the contest after losing the Test Match and six vital points at the same time.
With the change in format, we again saw a number of changes by both sides.
For Australia there were two changes:
- Nicole Bolton out for Elyse Villani – Villani for a long time has been seen as a T20 specialist, and despite not having a great Test and first ODI match, was recalled to the team.
- Holly Ferling out for Sarah Coyte – With Australia wanting to take the pace out of their attack and bolster their batting order it was an easy selection to bring Coyte in who has been out due to injury since the Test match.
England made three changes:
- Anya Shrubsole out for Natasha Farrant – Shrubsole was ruled out of the match in the morning
- Heather Knight out for Dani Wyatt – According to reports, Knight was also ruled out of today’s match because of an injury.
- Kate Cross out for Georgia Elwiss – Elwiss has been in and out of the English team, but provides a little more experience and the variation required in T20 cricket.
With Jodie Fields still injured Meg Lanning Captained her first T20 match and was successful with the toss of the coin and elected to bat.
England 1/151 defeated Australia 3/150 by 9 wickets with 13 balls to spare
England 10 points
Australia 4 points
With only 4 points left up for grabs in the series, England have retained the Ashes.
- With a change in the batting order we saw Blackwell open. This pushed Lanning down the order to her preferred position of number 3. It seemed to suit her extremely well as she scored her highest individual score in T20 cricket with an unbeaten 78 runs off 56 balls.
- At the back end of the Australian innings, the partnership between Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning lifted the scoring rate and scored 46 runs off four overs, allowing the Southern Stars to post a competitive total of 150, just 3 runs shy of the highest score ever by Australia.
- During the period of the 6th – 12th (27 deliveries) the Australians didn’t score a boundary, this I believe meant that the Australians were 10-15 runs short in the end.
- From the first ball that Charlotte Edwards faced, by cutting a wide delivery to the boundary there was a steely determination written on her face stating that she was going to do everything in her power to bring home the Ashes. By the fall of the first wicket Edwards was 30 having hit six 4’s, indicating her intent.
- Charlotte Edwards produced one of her best innings that I have ever seen her play with an unbeaten 92 runs off 59 balls.
- With Sarah Taylor and Charlotte in the middle and looking extremely comfortable Australia had to take the half chances. Unfortunately for the Southern Stars they missed a run out and a tough leg-side stumping.
- The Australian bowling attack didn’t find their groove at all within the 20 overs as they bowled two sides of the wicket and with two quality batters at the crease, England made light work the total.
- I would be intrigued to know why Ellyse Perry and Erin Osborne, two of Australia’s frontline bowlers, weren’t used within the first 10 overs and in my opinion used too late against two set batters.
Where to now:
- The Ashes are now tied up with England, but for the Australians in the words of Alex Blackwell “we want to win a series within a series.”
- There is still much at stake with the T20 World Cup being held in Bangladesh late March, where Australia will try and retain the trophy for the third consecutive time.
- Finally both teams will now start to try and figure out what their best bowling and batting line-ups are, therefore some key players may be rested whilst others are given a go.
Ones to watch:
- With the Series wrapped up all eyes turn towards the coaches and selectors to see what selection strategies they adopt.