England 259-8 Beaumont 49 Brunt 45* Villani 3-42
Australia 256-8 Perry 70 Lanning 40 Hartley 2-31
ENGLAND WON BY 3 RUNS
AT BRISTOL COUNTY GROUND
Almost 5,000 fans were in attendance to watch England’s Women finally snapping their 24-year losing streak against the old enemy Australia in a World Cup – thanks mostly to Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn who proved to be match-winners in the host’s 3-run victory at Bristol’s County Ground on Sunday. Brunt who top-scored with 45 not out and had her teammate in Jenny Gunn scoring 39 down the order of the England Innings, saw the pair putting on an 84-run partnership for the seventh wicket stand that proved to be the key in the part of the match and have the duo performing with the ball as well.
Before the contest got underway with the two oldest cricketing rivals in history, it saw Australia having not lost to England in a World Cup game since the 1993 tournament held in England and with the Aussies unbeaten in this year’s competition so far, a win was enough to send the Southern Stars through to the Semi-Finals. For England – this was a must-win game for them, as a loss would have been huge ahead of their final two group games against New Zealand and the West Indies to follow. But a win against their bitter enemies looked a tall order on paper, but not impossible.
England Captain Heather Knight won the toss and chose to bat first, with the idea of posting a good score and putting pressure on her opponents on a wicket that looked a bit flatter than the game played on previous only a few days ago that saw England beating South Africa on. Things didn’t get off to the best of starts for England – with Lauren Winfield getting out cheaply for one after her shot went straight to Nicole Bolton off the bowling of Megan Schutt to see the hosts 6 for 1.
Wicketkeeping- batsman Sarah Taylor then came to the crease for England and saw her and opener Tammy Beaumont steadying the ship a bit for the home side as Taylor played some nice shots and picking up a few boundaries along the way. Australian Captain Meg Lanning then brought spinner Kristen Beams into the attack and it brought immediate rewards for the Aussies – as she managed to get one to turn and deceive a dancing down the pitch Sarah Taylor to clean bowl the England player for 35 and, see England on 52-2 just after 11 overs.
England soon found themselves three wickets down, when the England Captain Heather Knight chipped a ball up to her Aussie counterpart Meg Lanning at mid-off and that gave Beams her second wicket of the match and saw England in a spot of trouble at 56-3. Nat Sciver then came in next to the crease and saw her helping to move England into triple figures and have both her and Beaumont keeping the scoreboard ticking along with boundaries and one and twos.
Sciver then replicated the dismissal of her captain Knight later on, as the England batsman tried to hit Elyse Villani down the ground but could only find Lanning who took the catch and saw England four down. Danielle Wyatt then came to the middle and saw the All-Rounder trying to take the Aussie bowlers on, with Wyatt slogging a six and four off the bowling of Jess Jonassen in the 27th over to see the hosts gaining some momentum in the contest.
With the hosts looking good out in the middle and punishing some poor bowling by the Australians – with Ellyse Perry contributing to those bowling problems after she suffered a nightmare spell with the ball, bowling five-wides and conceding a six in her second spell. Not long after Beaumont and Wyatt had reached their 50-run partnership in the Innings, it then saw Beaumont missing out on her fifty with the England opener getting out on 49 after she got a thick top edge from a full-toss delivery by Ashleigh Gardner and saw the bowler taking the catch herself to have the hosts on 156-5 after 35 overs gone.
Katherine Brunt then entered the fray and joined Danielle Wyatt out in the middle and saw Wyatt finishing the over with a Six down the ground as both batters tried to regain the momentum that seemed to keep dropping after every wicket that fell. Wyatt then became the next batsman to depart, as she was bowled by Jess Jonassen for 27, with the England player attempting to play a sweep and saw the ball hitting the stumps for the sixth wicket to fall and have the hosts looking a bit light on runs.
With England 183-6 with ten overs still remaining in their Innings, it saw a couple of bizarre incidents involving Jenny Gunn and Australian wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy. Firstly it saw Healy fluffing her lines on a stumping attempt on the England batter before the very next ball saw the wicketkeeper taking a catch and spilling it on the ground with the umpire controversially giving it out before a review saw the decision rightly overturned.
In the 41st and 43rd overs, it saw Elyse Villani coming back into the Australian bowling attack and leaked a combined total of 23 runs that helped the home side out in their total and got some much-needed runs on the board. The hosts had become a bit stagnated in their scoring during their Innings and saw Katherine Brunt starting to see engineer a quicker pace to proceedings for the hosts which included smashing a six over long-on and having the England player moving up a gear or two along with Gunn, as they were starting to press on.
Jenny Gunn then joined in on the action, as Gunn launched a six over the ropes and was soon followed by another boundary by Brunt to see England heading into the penultimate over 240-6. Megan Schutt then came back to try and dry up the runs of the home side and that was after the Aussies were haemorrhaging runs badly towards the end of the England Innings and saw Schutt doing a very good job of limiting the English duo to just six runs from the over.
To the surprise of many in the ground, Meg Lanning decided to have Ellyse Villani bowling the last over for Australia, when Ellyse Perry seemed to be the far better option and had a been economy rate between the two bowlers. That decision seemed to prove costly for the ‘Southern Stars’ in the end – as England scored 13 runs off the over and posted a final total of 259-8, despite losing Jenny Gunn stumped for 39 and then Anya Shrubsole for a two-ball duck.
At the halfway stage it looked to be a good total overall by the home side considering England were 102-4 and looked to be in deep trouble, but knocks from Tammy Beaumont who top-scored with 49, Katherine Brunt unbeaten on 45 not out and cameo performances by Jenny Gunn (39) and Sarah Taylor (35), helped see England fighting back in the Innings and setting a decent total for the Aussies to try and chase down.
Australia soon got their eye in with the bat as they moved quickly to 17 without loss after 3 overs gone. There was then another bit of controversy in the next over – when England appealed for a catch and saw the umpire motioning for a wide from it, but Knight asked for a review and saw the decision standing as not out, after the ball had clipped the thigh pad of the batsman, but more importantly though the umpire failed to retract the wide call he had given and that error by the umpire come have come back to cost the home side in the end.
Katherine Brunt then saw the Barnsley-born bowler picking up a maiden in the 5th over and saw her starting to frustrate the Australians with her play. England was doing very well to restrict the Aussies from scoring big score run in the game, as some good fielding notably by the Captain Heather Knight in the field saw the opening duo of Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney limited early on in their Innings. England had their first real chance of a wicket come their way when Mooney tried to play a drive back towards the bowler and saw Danielle Hazell unable to hold on to the catch, as it just escaped her clutches and was agonisingly close for the hosts.
Bolton and Mooney were going about nicely in their run chase for Australia as the duo took the ‘Southern Stars’ past 50-0 and, looked in no danger at all either. That was until Alex Hartley then bowled one around the wicket to Mooney, who then saw her lifting a shot over the bowler and into the path of the diving Lauren Winfield who made the catch and make the breakthrough for the home side to send Mooney back to the house for 31.
England was restricting their opponents to ones and twos and not giving up the big runs to their opponents, which in turn then saw them picking up a big wicket of Nicole Bolton in the 19th over, as the opener pushed at a ball and saw a well-taken catch into the gloves of Sarah Taylor and see the Australians 72-2. Hartley then bowled brilliantly to see her giving up just one run from the following over and that looked it was swinging the momentum back towards the home side.
At the halfway mark of the Australian Innings, it saw the Green and Golds trailing by 8 runs at this point in time when compared to their opponents. The pairing of Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning had both of them unable to get on top of the England bowlers and saw the World Champions struggling to get runs on the board and the required rate was going up and up and getting away from the Aussies.
Perry and Lanning found a couple of boundaries to help relieve pressure on the batting side and move the score along and see the English side having some nerves creeping into their play. This game was a see-saw battle with both sides trying to wrestle control from the other one and back again. The Aussies looked like they were starting to take control of the game, but a stunning delivery by Alex Hartley saw the spinner causing the Australian Captain to yorking herself and see the ball hitting her off stump and remove Lanning for 40.
It was a good knock by the Australian Captain considering Lanning has been struggling with a chronic shoulder injury for most of the tournament and show some signs that the shoulder was troublesome during her fielding attempts, but it certainly didn’t affect her batting display. Ellyse Perry was then joined at the crease Elyse Villani, as Villani was given a huge lifeline by Anya Shrubsole when the fielder dropped her in the field after it looked like a straightforward catch for the England bowler heard gasps of in disbelief in the Pro-England crowd.
Perry looked in good nick for the visitors as she hammered a four and six in the same over off the bowling of Hazell to see the Aussies needing 107 runs from the last 15 overs for victory. England needed a bit of a pick me up after the dropped catch had taken the wind out of their proverbial sails and saw Alex Hartley producing a good over of bowling that saw the host nation conceding just one run.
Villani seemed to struggle with the bat for Australia and it looked like her Innings had come to an end when Shrubsole appealed for an LBW decision that saw the umpire agreeing and giving her out. However the Australian immediately asked for the decision to be reviewed and the Ultra-Edge system shown a spike on the graph to suggest that she got a small bottom edge on the bat and saw a reversal of the call. With 40 overs bowled in the game in the Innings, it saw Australia needing 91 runs from 60 balls to win and have the match in the balance still.
Ellyse Perry then brought up her half-century with a single and you felt as long as she was out there for the Aussies then they were still in with a chance of the game. England then got the wicket of Elyse Villani for 14, after she tried to go big but could only find Jenny Gunn who took the catch and that seemed to give the home side a boost moving forward too. Perry was continuing her form with the bat, as she picked away at the England bowling attack with a four and six and she tried her best to single-handedly bring her side nearer to the total.
Alex Blackwell was more aggressive in her approach play to her Innings when she came out to the middle – with two powerfully struck boundaries and saw the Australian’s kick-on and gaining some momentum heading into the stretch. England then had a golden chance to dent the World Champions hope of victory with five overs to go when Perry tried to go long and see the ball coming off the bottom of the bat and heading toward Nat Sciver, but the England player dropped it and let Perry and also Australia off the hook.
Much like at the back end of the England Innings that saw Meg Lanning making a decision on who to bowl and it backfiring in hindsight, for England it saw Heather Knight bringing Katherine Brunt back into bowling attack and proved to be a masterstroke in the game. The first ball of the over saw Brunt beating Blackwell and clipping her off stump with the England players celebrating the wicket, but had Blackwell unconvinced that the ball had been dislodged by the bowling of Brunt and thought that the wicketkeeper had knocked the bails off instead.
The wicket was asked to be checked out and make sure that the gloves of Sarah Taylor that was stood very close to the stumps didn’t come in contact with them and dislodge the bails, the replays showed that she didn’t touch the bails and so Alex Blackwell was forced to depart the scene for 21, in what was a small but effective Innings for the Aussies.
During this tournament and in recent Ashes battles in England of late, it has saw the Aussies having a good luck charm in their Team Coach driver called Greg, or Greggles’ as nicknamed by the Aussie side and much like buses – when one one comes along another arrives too and that was the case of the Australians wickets that followed. After Blackwell went at the start of the Brunt over, it then saw the prize wicket of Ellyse Perry going after a brilliant knock of 70 with Nat Sciver redeeming herself after dropping a catch earlier on in the Innings and took the important catch by the boundary rope to see the back of Perry.
With the score 222-6 after 47 overs gone, it saw the ‘Southern Stars’ needing 38 more runs from the remaining 18 balls in the match and surely they couldn’t spring a late surprise on their opponents in the match, ..could they? Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner tried their absolute best to make sure that they still had a chance late on in the contest – as Gardner struck a six on the first ball of Danielle Hazell’s over and then saw Healy smashing a couple of successive boundaries to see the Aussies now needing 23 off the last 14 balls.
With the crowd who had been noisy and confident of victory not so long ago now becoming nervous and tense with many chewing their fingernails over the state of play, it saw the home side leaking 19 runs in their last five deliveries. Some fans could barely watch what would happen next in this encounter and saw more twist and turns in this game than you would find in a novel. Danielle Hazell who had been hit for 15 runs after four balls gone in her over, saw her really needing a response and she got one as she trapped Healy LBW for 14 and that looked to be the end of the Aussies challenge.
Healy though knew it was a long shot but asked for her dismissal to be reviewed and on the replay, it showed that the ball was going to crash into the middle stump and saw Australia 7 wickets down in the match. Brunt who had been one the main performers in the contest with bat and ball, then saw the England player bowling the penultimate over of the Innings and conceded just six runs off it and left their opponents needing 16 off the final over to deny the host nation a famous win.
Jenny Gunn was asked to be the person to finish the job off for England, but yet again the Australian side showed they don’t know how to lose and their battling qualities were on show yet again, as Jess Jonassen hit a four to the boundary and with a couple of singles sandwiched in too for good measure, it saw them needing a further 11 runs to claim victory.
Gunn then bowled a slower ball to Gardner who saw hit it high in the air and after everything that Katherine Brunt had done to get England into a winning position – she was never going to do anything else but take the catch and so she edged England closer to a win. There was still time though for another twist to this epic game between rivals though, as Jonassen hit a ball down the ground and what looked like to be easily fielded ball by Nat Sciver, instead it turned into a misfield by the ropes and resulted in a fumble and saw it go for four and leave the Australians needing a six off the final ball to win the game.
Jenny Gunn then bowled the last delivery in a pulsating game and saw Jess Jonassen putting everything into the last attack and saw her attempted slog not having the distance and an end to the game and finally see a victory for England over their old enemy for the first time since 1993. If this was a preview to the Final then cricketing fans will be wanting more of this should the encounter take place again at Lord’s on the 23rd of July in the World Cup Final.
Taken from: Cricbuzz