Series: ODI World Cup
Venue: Seddon Park, Hamilton
Result: Australia by 12 runs
608 Runs Later, Result Still the Same
A mere matter of weeks from their comprehensive Ashes victory over England, after 608 runs the result remains the same for Australia in the first clash for these teams in CWC 2022.
The conditions a little overcast, a slight green tinge to the wicket, enough for England skipper Heather Knight to take advantage of those conditions and send Australia in to bat after she won the toss. Some early movement for the bowlers but the batters negotiated well and it was some surprise to see Alyissa Healy dismissed for 28 when the score was 35. She’d inflicted some early blows while Rachael Haynes settled herself in.
Meg Lanning came to the crease and looked busy, as she always does, but it was Haynes who started to find her feet. The pair put on a dazzling display of strokes 196 runs. It was Lanning to reach her half century, then Haynes. Neither celebrated overly, a job still to be done. Runs were flowing from both sides of the wicket, along the ground, in the air. It was the Ashes revisited.
The England bowlers had no answers with both batters hurtling towards their centuries, but Lanning fell short, a sizzling catch by Tammy Beaumont at point ending the skipper’s stay on 86. Australia were now 231/2 after 43 overs. Surely a wicket would slow these Aussies down, but no, the pace quickened. Haynes seemed in even more of a hurry, passing her century, only her second in ODI’s. Joined by the ever conniving Mooney who instantly started her innings in top gear, eventually Haynes fell for 130.
Mooney and Perry continued to plunder runs and the Aussies passed the 300 mark, the end of the 50th over not coming soon enough for England. With 310/3 Australia had scored their highest total against England in a World Cup match. A tough workout for the bowlers, Nat Sciver with 2-68 the most successful.
A problem that has plagued England’s batting for well over twelve moths has been the opening batting partnership. A few options tried and today it was Lauren Winfield-Hill to partner Tammy Beaumont. This option lasted three balls when Winfield-Hill was caught by Annabel Sutherland diving forward at mid-on to take an excellent catch from the bowling of Megan Schutt. England’s run chase off to a shaky start, 0/1.
Tammy Beaumont, as so often before, continued, and with her captain pummeled anything loose to the boundary. These were good batting conditions and the pair took full advantage, particularly savage on Darcie Brown and Sutherland. They then dined out on Jess Jonassen, taking 16 runs from two overs. Knight was in sparkling form, exquisite through point, lofted drives.
Beaumont by now had reached her half century and at 51 reached her 3000th ODI run. The pair had put on 92 for the second wicket when Knight was abruptly dismissed, against the run of play, a drive to cover straight into the hands of her opposite number, gone for 40. England now 92/2.
Nat Sciver arrived at the crease to join Beaumont and the task could not have been more challenging: 218 runs needed in 31 overs at 7.03 runs per over, against one of the best bowling attacks in the world. Sciver got busy immediately and Beaumont continued her attack on anything short by the quick bowlers as the two forged a half century partnership.
A spectacular lofted straight drive from Sciver off Alana King announced that the England batters were keen to dish out more punishment to the spinners, but two balls later Tammy Beaumont was deceived by a beautifully flighted delivery from the leggie and Healy finished the job. The opener’s fine knock ended on 74, leaving England 149/3, still in this.
Amy Jones’ wretched recent form continued and was out to the same bowler. It wasn’t the best ball by King, but in a cricket innings there are only ten good balls. With the England keeper back in the shed, there was still another 157 needed from the final 20 overs and that required run rate was now a concerning 7.85.
On and on went Sciver, her pull shot on display for all to see. Anything short went to the legside boundary, a front foot pull from the bowling of Perry the pick of them. Danni Wyatt, busy at the other end, but not busy for long enough, bowled by McGrath f0r just 7.
With 40 overs completed England were still in reach, needing 88 runs for victory. Somebody needed to stay with Sciver who brought up 50 from 43 balls. Dunkley provided temporary support in a cameo of 28 runs but again King proved a thorn, bowling the England batter round her legs. King now had three in her World Cup debut.
Brunt marched to the crease and took off where Dunkley had left, a special cameo – it was needed, for the required run rate was now heading towards 11.00 per over. Sciver continued her attack on the Aussie bowlers, runs all around the wicket, some classic, some innovative and it was the latter to the fine leg boundary that brought up her century.
England arrived at the 49th over with 16 runs still required. Jonassen, who’d been punished early began her third over. A leg bye, then Brunt smacked the ball straight back at the bowler. It was on its way to the boundary but stopped short. Jonassen had stuck a hand out in hope and the ball stuck. 15 needed from four balls.
A dot ball to Sophie Ecclestone, then a single. Another single. England needed boundaries but they weren’t coming in this over. Ecclestone chipped the final delivery, on its way for six but Mooney intervened and took the catch. Sciver was left standing on 109 when England’s innings came to an end, 12 runs short of the Australians.
The two old enemies, their opening encounter, two cracking centuries. It was a run feast of 608 runs, not a great day to be a bowler. Australia took the two points and Rachael Haynes the Player of the Match.
Player of the Match: Rachael Haynes