Heather Knight stays calm to help England win a thriller

Heather Knight and Kate Cross shared an unbeaten 32-run partnership for the 9th wicket in a record chase to help England stay in the hunt in the Ashes.

Shajin Mohanan S
New Update
heather knight

England with their highest successful ODI chase © Getty Images

Skipper Heather Knight played a captain's knock and shared an unbeaten partnership with Kate Cross to help England win a thriller against Australia in Dublin on Wednesday (July 12). With England Women registering their highest successful chase, the multi-format Women's Ashes is tied at six points apiece with two matches to go.

Opting to bat first, Alyssa Healy’s struggles with the bat continued as she was trapped in front of the wicket in the opening over bowled by Kate Cross. Although they missed a few chances, it looked like England had the measure of Australia in the first nine overs before Phoebe Litchfield broke free in the last over of the power play with four boundaries off Lauren Bell.

It took an exceptional one-handed catch from Sophie Ecclestone to dismiss the southpaw and break her partnership with Ellyse Perry. Litchfield lofted Natalie Sciver-Brunt’s fuller delivery and Ecclestone leaped in the air to pluck it with her left hand at mid-off.

From there, Perry and Beth Mooney added another 37 runs with England continuing their up-and-down fielding. Sarah Glenn, who dropped Perry at mid-on, had the last laugh when she had Perry caught by Sciver-Brunt.

Both Tahlia McGrath and Ashleigh Gardner had starts while Mooney went about her business. But neither of them could stay with the southpaw for long. Bell dismissed Gardner with a bouncer courtesy of a good catch from Sciver-Brunt and then followed it up with one nipped away against Annabel Sutherland. At this stage, Australia were struggling at 185 for 6.

However, Mooney found a good partner in Jess Jonassen and the duo added 55 runs for the seventh wicket. Mooney brought up her 13th fifty in ODIs – she also has three centuries in the format – and continued to keep the England bowlers at bay.

A cameo from Georgia Wareham pushed the Australian score past the 260 mark and they eventually finished on 263 for 8 from the stipulated 50 overs. Mooney remained unbeaten on 81 off 99 balls while Bell and Sciver-Brunt picked up two wickets each.

Chasing 264 to win, England started aggressively against a wayward Australia. Darcie Brown struggled with her line and also overstepped on the first delivery she bowled. That got Tammy Beaumont going as the free hit went for a four and Perry erred with her line as well at the other end.

Eventually, Perry fixed her radar and managed to sneak one through the defense of Sophia Dunkley in the fourth over. Alice Capsey, fresh from her match-winning knock in the final T20I, was her usual aggressive self and smashed Perry for three consecutive fours in a four-boundary over.

Megan Schutt, introduced into the attack only in the ninth over, did manage to get Capsey to edge one through third for a four, but the batter clubbed the swing bowler for a maximum over long-on later in the innings.

In between this, Beaumont took on Sutherland in a 15-run over before perishing to Wareham in the first over of spin. The England opener scored 47 off 42 balls in a stroke-filled knock. After Gardner removed Capsey, Captain Heather Knight and Sciver-Brunt looked like they would steady things with their 42-run stand.

However, Sciver-Brunt went for one more reverse sweep and was caught at short third off Jess Jonassen. When Danielle Wyatt fell, England were still 70 runs away from the target. Amy Jones didn’t last long either as she became Wareham’s second victim.

Despite wickets walling at the other end, Knight brought up her 25th fifty in the format (2 ODI hundreds) and kept the score board ticking. And eventually the England skipper found an able partner in Cross who managed to take on the Australian bowlers when they erred on the fuller side. The experienced duo kept their nerves and took them home with an unbeaten stand of 32 runs. 

Knight launched Gardner over deep mid-wicket to reduce the target to 12 off the last four overs. Cross lapped Schutt behind the wicket for a boundary before driving her for another four. With only one runs needing in the last two overs, England skipper finished it off in style with a boundary through point.

Brief Scores: Australia 263/8 in 50 overs (Beth Mooney 81*, Ellyse Perry 41; Natalie Sciver-Brunt 2/38, Lauren Bell 2/56) lost to England 267/8 in 48.1 overs (Heather Knight 75*, Tammy Beaumont 47; Ashleigh Gardner 3/42) by 2 wickets POTM: Heather Knight