Australia, England outshine NZ and WI in the Women’s World T20:
England vs West Indies:
Fearless England cantered to a seven-wicket win over West Indies in a commanding start to their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup campaign.
Heather Knight’s side promised aggression in the build-up to the tournament and walked the walk in chasing down 136 with 33 balls to spare.
The 135-7 mustered by West Indies, bolstered by a fine 42 from captain Hayley Matthews, never looked sufficient as world No.1 T20I bowler Sophie Ecclestone snaffled three for 23.
The Windies chose to bat and Lauren Bell’s jagging inswing caused them early headaches in Paarl’s broiling 38-degree heat.
The returning Stafanie Taylor was given out LBW on-field with the last ball of the opening over, a decision overturned on referral.
Matthews got the measure of Bell in the seamer’s erratic second over – twice piercing the off-side field.
She struck eight fours in the powerplay to guide the Windies to 47 without loss, the first time in 20 T20Is that they have reached the six-over mark without losing a wicket.
Taylor never looked convincing and was outfoxed by the flight of Sarah Glenn’s second ball, trapped in front for three from 14 balls, this time squandering one of her team’s reviews.
England got the crucial wicket of Matthews in the 11th over when she was deceived by Sophie Ecclestone’s drift and given out LBW.
Shemaine Campbelle played sensibly in an anchor role but she lost partner Shabika Gajnabi at 70 for three, run out by Alice Capsey when turning for a tight second.
Campbelle ticked up to 34 at a run-a-ball but her promising fourth-wicket stand was broken when she nicked Katherine Sciver-Brunt behind, Amy Jones taking a sharp catch.
England took back control in that 17th over with Knight running out Chinelle Henry two balls later and two wickets fell to Ecclestone in the penultimate over.
In reply Dunkley and Danni Wyatt came out firing, the former taking 17 runs from a single Matthews over, but the latter soon perished for 11, caught in the deep on the off side.
Dunkley pressed on undeterred, reaching 34 from 17 balls, but was dismissed when Henry took a reflex return catch.
England doubled down on their aggressive approach, Alice Capsey and Nat Sciver-Brunt going hard from the off, before Capsey was out stumped on the charge for 13.
The Nat and Knight partnership that has borne such fruit for England saw them from 71 for three all the way home, a 67 stand for the fourth wicket laced with leg-side boundaries.
Scores in brief
England beat West Indies at Boland Park, Paarl by seven wickets
West Indies 135 for seven in 20 overs (Hayley Matthews 42, Shemaine Campbelle 34; Sophie Ecclestone 3/23, Sarah Glenn 1/20)
England 138 for three in 14.3 overs (Nat Sciver-Brunt 40 not out, Sophia Dunkley 34; Chenille Henry 2/30, Afy Fletcher 1/22)
Player of the Match: Nat Sciver-Brunt (England)
Australia vs New Zealand:
Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner starred as Australia overran New Zealand by 97 runs to jumpstart their defence of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Healy looked a million dollars for her 55, her highest score in the format since the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final, as Australia racked up 173/9.
The White Ferns lost Suzie Bates with the first ball of their reply and they were rolled for 76 in 14 overs.
Gardner was the chief destroyer with a sublime spell of 5/12, by some way her best T20I bowling figures, the five-time champions starting off with a dominant victory.
Beth Mooney only lasted two balls as she poked unconvincingly at Lea Tahuhu and Eden Carson flew to her right to pouch a stunning catch at backward point.
Healy and Lanning clubbed together and guided Australia to 47 for one from six overs, their best-ever powerplay score against New Zealand at the T20 World Cup.
They assembled a 70 stand for the second wicket until Amelia Kerr tucked up Lanning and she was bowled playing a cut shot to a straight delivery for 41.
One brought two and Tahuhu found Gardner’s leading edge in the next over, Carson taking a simple catch to make it 76 for three.
Healy and Perry took over, rattling to a 50 partnership in just 28 balls with a clinic in controlled aggression.
Healy peeled off 55, only perishing when deceived by Tahuhu’s slower ball and caught on the fence.
Perry and Grace Harris’ partnership promised fireworks and burned bright for 22 in eight balls, but fizzled out when Harris was run out on 14 after a mix-up in the middle.
Perry kept swinging, lifting Amelia Kerr over the cover boundary, but she was gone for 40 a ball later and Jess Jonassen went for a two-ball duck in the same over.
There was a late flurry of wickets as Alana King and Tahlia McGrath came and went in the last two overs with Australia closing on 173/9 from 20 overs.
The start of the Kiwi reply was a surreal one. Megan Schutt bowled five wides with the first ball and with the second, bowled Suzie Bates who went down for an improbable scoop.
Both openers were gone within the over as Sophie Devine was given out LBW turning one to leg.
Bernadine Bezuidenhout and Amelia Kerr briefly stabilised things and Bezuidenhout reverse swept Jonassen to the fence before departing for 14, caught by Darcie Brown off Perry.
The White Ferns sunk to 37 for four with Maddy Green run out and Amelia Kerr’s three fours from the three balls that followed was a fleeting show of defiance.
Kerr was bowled shortly after by Gardner and the slide continued, Hayley Jensen chipping tamely to midwicket before Tahuhu and Rowe were accounted for by Gardner in quick succession.
In the end, New Zealand lost three wickets for four runs in 11 balls and it was clearly terminal to their hopes, Gardner taking the final two wickets in the 14th over.
Australia beat New Zealand at Boland Park, Paarl by 97 runs
Australia 173 for nine in 20 overs (Alyssa Healy 55, Ellyse Perry 40; Amelia Kerr 3/23, Lea Tahuhu 3/37)
New Zealand 76 all out in 14 overs (Amelia Kerr 21, Bernadine Bezuidenhout 14; Ashleigh Gardner 5/12, Megan Schutt 2/8)
Player of the Match: Ashleigh Gardner (Australia)
© International Cricket Council