England's Women Crash To Dismal Defeat In Ashes Opener As Australia Target Double

England were humbled in Adelaide in the first Twenty20 match of the Ashes
14:30, 20 Jan 2022

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, well they have.

England’s women have been hungry to restore some much-needed national pride after the senior men’s teams being hammered 4-0 in their recent Ashes series.

But in the first Twenty20 of the new women’s own Ashes, England crashed to a crushing defeat.

The rampant Aussies powered to a dominant nine-wicket victory at the Adelaide Oval.

And England fans will hope this opening loss is not a sign of things to come after the recent pain they have endured Down Under this winter.

England, to their credit, posted a decent total of 169-4 from their allotted 120 balls, but their total was easily achieved.

In fact the Aussies won with three overs to spare as England were made to toil in the heat in their opening tour match.

Danni Wyatt impressed for an impressive 70 from 54 balls for England, but her scoring rate was nowhere near as quick as Australia’s Tahlia McGrath who, with a stunning unbeaten 91 from just 49 deliveries, guided the holders to a commanding victory.

Having earlier starred with ball with 3-26, all-rounder McGrath blasted England to all part of the grounds as Australia made a confident start to retaining their title on home turf.

McGrath was England’s chief tormentor and, when she dismissed Wyatt and two other England batsman in just eight balls, the tourists’ hopes of posting 200 quickly evaporated as their innings stalled.

Another 30 runs and this could have been a lot closer, but tellingly Australia still had nine wickets in the tank and are clearly confident of carrying on where their men’s team left off.

Wyatt shared in an encouraging 82-run opening stand with fellow opener Tammy Beaumont – and that platform should have seen England power towards the 200-mark.

But McGrath did for Wyatt with a fine yorker, as well as accounting for Nat Sciver with a similar delivery.

And then she had Amy Jones caught by Grace Harris as England faltered and were forced to rebuild.

McGrath then let rip with the bat, smashing 13 fours and a six in her nearly two runs a ball innings.

She shared in fine unbroken second-wicket stand of 144 with Meg Lanning, who played her part with a battling 64 not out from only 44 balls.

“I'm just loving playing cricket at the moment,” beamed delighted match-winner McGrath. “It's always nice when you're winning and in good form. I'll roll with it as long as possible.

"We thought it was probably about par. They had a really good start and we pegged it back quite well. We gave ourselves every chance."

To rub salt into England’s gaping wound, Australia won by such a convincing margin without one of their star players.

They surprisingly dropped star player Ellyse Perry, an icon of Australian cricket, for the opening fixture of what, for England’s supporters, will not be ‘another’ one-sided series.

The multi-format competition continues on Saturday with the second of three T20 matches.

England know they will have to play much better, otherwise this series has the potential of running away from the start.

England skipper Heather Knight stressed her side are "going to have to be positive and trust our game.”

But Australia have held the Ashes for the past three series after away wins in 2015 and 2019 and a draw in 2017-18.

And Knight tried to take the positives despite her team’s dismal defeat.

"The way Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont came out and batted was outstanding, especially because they said they felt a bit rusty,” reflected Knight.

"We thought we got to about par with the bat. But they batted outstandingly and Tahlia McGrath made it difficult to set fields. 

“We'll have to learn from that ahead of Saturday."

Scorecard:

England 169-4 (20 overs): Wyatt 70, Sciver 32, McGrath 3-26

Australia 170-1 (17 overs): McGrath 91* Lanning 64*

*Australia win by nine wickets and lead the series by two points to nil.

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