Twin hundreds for Litchfield, Sutherland help Australia to huge win

Phoebe Litchfield and Annabel Sutherland added an unbeaten 221 runs for the opening wicket after Alyssa Healy was ruled out of the game earlier

Shajin Mohanan S
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Sutherland and Litchfield

Annabel Sutherland (L) and Phoebe Litchfield (R) © Getty Images

Twin hundreds from new opening pair of Phoebe Litchfield and Annabel Sutherland headlined Australia's clinical win against Ireland as they clinched the series 2-0 with a ten-wicket win in Dublin on Friday (July 28). This was their maiden centuries in the format  and Litchfield's first international hundred as they put on an unbeaten 221-run stand.

Australia's day didn't start well as two of their senior most players were ruled out of the series and The Hundred 2023 with injuries. Captain Alyssa Healy has a broken finger and Ellyse Perry is continuing to nurse her knee injury that she suffered during the 2nd ODI. Both of them will travel back home and start their rehabilitation process although there is no surgeries required.

For Ireland, 16-year-old Aimee Maguire came in for the injured Mary Waldron. The veteran wicketkeeper-batter had already announced her decision to retire from playing cricket at the end of the series, but couldn't take the field in the final ODI due to the calf injury she sustained during the second game.

Opting to bowl first after stand-in skipper Tahlia McGrath won the toss, Australia made early breakthroughs with Leah Paul stepping on the stumps off Darcie Brown and Kim Garth getting young Amy Hunter caught behind. 

From there, Gaby Lewis and Orla Prendergast resurrected the Ireland innings with a 66-run partnership. Even though they lost Lewis in the 30s yet again, Prendergast continued to bat on and aded another 71 runs for the fourth wicket. The tall allrounder her height to good effect as she stepped down to hit a few boundaries.

In the process, Prendergast brought up her maiden ODI fifty and also her 71 off 109 balls is now the highest individual score in ODIs against Australia. However, once she fell, Ireland's innings tappered off and they were bowled out for 217 in the penultimate over from 159 for 3.

For Australia, Ashleigh Gardner and Garth picked up three wickets each with three other bowlers taking one wicket apiece.

Chasing only a moderate total, the new opening duo of Litchfield and Sutherland started well with the former taking on the bowlers from the get go. Although she was dropped early on and then two more times in her innings, Litchfield was hardly troubled by the Ireland bowlers and looked solid as she sped her way to a fifty off just 54 balls. She hit Carra Murray for thre boundaries to celebrate the occassion.

Sutherland also started getting more of the strike and took on the Irish bowlers with a few fours as she brought up her second fifty plus score in the format. The allrounder caught up with Litchfield with a couple of boundaries off Arlene Kelly as both batters moved into the nineties. 

With plenty of overs to spare, both eased their way to their century. The left-hander was the first one to the mark as she hit Delany through mid-off for her 13th boundary. Sutherland didn't fall far behind as she also reached the milestone in the 35th over with a single to bring up the hundred from just 94 balls. 

Once they reached the coveted landmarks, Sutherland hit Prendergast for a couple of boundaries and Litchfield completed the proceedings with a boundary off Delany in the 36th over to give Australia a ten-wicket win.

That win also meant Australia took home a 2-0 series victory after losing the ODI leg of The Ashes to England in a closely fought series. With the first ODI being washed out, Ireland now have two points in the ICC Women's Championship (IWC) for the 2022-25 cycle.

Post the match, retiring Waldron was given a guard of honour by both the teams for her 13 years of service to Ireland cricket. The 39-year-old has represented Ireland in multi sports and she has played 144 internationals matches across ODIs and T20Is for Ireland. Waldron has also umpired in international games as on-field official.

Brief scores: Ireland 217/10 in 49 overs (Orla Prendergast 71; Kim Garth 3/34, Ashleigh Gardner 3/38) lost to Australia 221/0 in 35.5 overs (Annabel Sutherland 109*, Phoebe Litchfield 106*) by ten wickets POTM: Phoebe Litchfield; POTS: Ashleigh Gardner