After losing the test match and the first ODI to England, the Australian women scored thumping victories against England in ODI and T20 series. But in the end it was not enough. The test match had given England 6 points and the first ODI victory for them added another 2. But Australia bounced back to win the ODI series 2-1 by superb performances by some their players. Nearly the same thing happened in the T20 Series as well. England convincingly defeated Australia in the first T20 and then lost the next two games. However, the victory in the first T20 itself ensured that England go home with the Ashes urn. Although the next two T20 games became inconsequential in that respect, the English women were totally outplayed in the last two matches.
In the second ODI played at MCG on January 23, 2014, debutant Nicole Bolton’s 124 had helped Australia pile up 266/7. This was enough to lay England low because despite some creditable performances, England fell short by 26 runs.
The third ODI was an enthralling game that almost came down to the razor’s edge excitement. Highly talented Ellyse Perry her partner Erin Osborne denied England an early victory in the Ashes Series by a superlative display towards the end of the Australian innings. England had set a stiff target of 269 for Australia. Captain Charlotte Edwards led from the front and put up 79 for the first wicket with Knight and no English women scored less than 25 runs. The Australian innings began on a positive note, with the first 50 coming up in 58 balls. Captain Meg Lanning looked in great touch as she punished loose deliveries and even hit a huge leg-side six off Jenny Gunn. But once Lanning fell in the 10th over, the English bowlers did not allow the Aussie women much liberty. With asking rate going up, desperation crept in. When the sixth wicket fell at 199 in the 42nd over, Australia still required 70 runs at almost 9 runs per over. By all appearances, it was a lost cause for Australia. But the seventh wicket pair of Ellyse Perry and Erin Osborne had other plans. The complexion of the game took a pleasant turn for the small crowd at Bellerive Oval at Hobart. Some, who had taken a few steps to get out of the ground, returned to their seats as Perry and Osborne started hammering the England bowlers to all corners of the ground. Their 50 partnership came in 5.2 overs and the unbeaten stand yielded 70 in 45 balls to win the game for Australia in great style.
In the first T20 game, also at Hobart, Australia put up a very competitive 150/3 on the board, with Lanning and Perry, both making creditable scores. But English skipper Charlotte Edwards single-handedly took the game away from Australia with a blazing 92 not out in 59 balls. She hit 13 boundaries and 1 six and with Sarah Taylor also scoring 50 off 37, England comfortably reached the victory target with 13 balls still remaining. With this victory, England also won the Ashes by taking an unassailable 10-4 lead in the series.
In the second T20 women’s game played at the MCG, Australia won the toss and put England in. The decision proved good for skipper Lanning, as Australia’s bowlers restricted England to 98/6 with some very economical spells. When Australia batted, they lost Elyse Villani for 25 but Lanning and wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy took the score to within a hand-shaking distance of the target. Though Lanning got out at the score of 94, Australian women easily beat England by 7 wickets with 29 balls still left.
With series already decided, Australian women still proved their authority in the shorter format of the game, when they scored another emphatic 7-wicket victory in the final T20 game. This match was played at Stadium Australia in Sydney on Sunday February 2, 2014, and just as in the previous T20 game, Australia chose to field after winning the toss. England struggled right from the start against some tight bowling by Holly Ferling, who gave away just 12 runs in her 4-over spell. But the real wrecker was Rene Farrel, who took the first three English wickets that fell. In the 15th over, England could only make 79 and lost 7 wickets. But for a late charge by Jenny Gunn, England couldn’t have even reached 101 that finally appeared on the board. Farrel accounted for four England wickets in the end. The victory target for Australia was too moderate and Healy, Villani and Lanning reached there with commanding ease, winning the last T20 also by seven wickets.
In the end, it turned out to be a successful tour for the English women, who go home with the Ashes in their baggage. But Australia’s fine performance in ODI and T20 games cannot be discounted. With the World T20 tournament coming up in Bangladesh next month, the Australia’s women team looks pretty solid.
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