Did England Women win their first Ashes match? Australia crush England in first IT20

Tahlia McGrath hands Australia their first win in the Women’s Ashes 2022

It seemed that all of the woes and dread that England fans experienced while watching the Men’s Ashes series is set to return after Australia Women thumped England to take the first T20 match by storm.

Ahead of the series start, England’s captain, Heather Knight, spoke of the bizarre preparations that were undertaken in order for Covid to be avoided as best as possible and it would appear that the ‘comical’ training proved to be just as ineffective as she had feared.

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England batted first and knocked up a score of 169/4. While this was by no means a laughable score, Australia did not struggle to hit 170/1 after just 17 overs.

Tahlia McGrath was the stand out performer for Australia as she created exceptional quality with both bat and ball.

England would have imagined they had lucked out at the toss when it transpired Australia were omitting Women’s Ashes legend Elysse Perry from the squad but the excitement was short lived.

Australia now take a 2-0 lead in the multi-format series and England will hope to fight back in their next T20 to even out the series on Saturday 22 January 2022.

What happened in England’s innings?

Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt opened the batting for England and the pair had a steady partnership that produced 82 runs from 60 balls.

Beaumont managed to recover from being struck on the helmet by Tayla Vlaeminck’s bouncer and soon after survived a dropped catch by McGrath who struggled a tough return catch in third over.

Wyatt top scored with 70 for England

Wyatt responded by hitting back-to-back sixes over Jess Jonassen’s head and England were able to produce 51 runs in the powerplay.

Beaumont fell to the newbie leg spinner Alana King, who not only took her maiden international wicket but did so with a caught and bowled. In came Nat Sciver who helped Danni Wyatt along to 70 runs.

It was looking like England were going to reach an even higher score than t169 when Nicola Carey went for 16 in the 16th over but Meg Lanning switched back to the trusty McGrath and the all-rounder miraculously turned the game around for Australia with two perfect yorkers then sent Sciver and Wyatt on their way.

Sciver went for 32 and just two balls later Wyatt was sent walking off in exactly the same manner.

Amy Jones lasted just six balls before McGrath claimed her third victim of the day.

Heather Knight and Sophia Dunkley saw out the last two overs and nudged England on to 169.

How did Australia respond in their innings?

170 was still a record chase for Australia and their slow start to the innings was giving England hope that a first match win was easily feasible.

Sophie Ecclestone had Alyssa Healy caught in the fourth over and it looked like it was going to be a dream for the touring side.

However Meg Lanning was soon joined by Tahlia McGrath and the pair guided their side home to 170 in just 17 overs.

McGrath made 91 as well as taking 3 wickets in opening Ashes match

McGrath smacked an unbeaten 91 off just 49 balls while Lanning was supportive with 64 off 44 balls.

There was hope Maia Bouchier would be able to cut off a boundary but jammed her knee into the turf and has now put serious injury pressures in the England camp.

From this point on Australia were hitting back-to-back boundaries and it became more a question of how quickly they would be able to hit the target rather than if they would.

What was said after the match?

Both Tammy Beaumont and Heather Knight have spoken of the positives that can be found from their performance:

Speaking to the press after the match, Knight said: “I thought our batting was outstanding. For Danni and Tammy to come out and play like that - they took the game to the Aussies, which is what we want to do. Our score was probably about par but we were probably a bit rusty with the ball - too much width and didn’t quite bowl where we wanted to. But there were plenty of positives.”

It is definitely true to say that there was not a lot more England could have done with the bat. 169 is a solid score but if England are to stay in the series they must now look to tighten up their fielding as well as reigning in the bowling.

Dropped catches and letting boundaries run away will not help Knight’s side if they are to stand a chance.

Strong performances from Beaumont, Sciver and especially Wyatt will hopefully keep England’s spirits high and propel them into their next fixture. With plenty of options for bowling, Knight may look to rejig her line-up in order to keep Australia’s innings score limited and within reach.

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