Nicola Carey. ©WBBL/CA

An allround performance by Australia A, powered by cameos from Nicola Carey and Erin Burns, saw the visitors defeat England Academy by 20 runs in the first T20 at Millfield School in Somerset on Wednesday (July 17).

Having won the toss and elected to bat Australia A got off to a shaky start, losing two wickets inside the first four overs. Tahlia McGrath (12) and Elyse Villani (15) were dismissed by Issy Wong within the span of three deliveries, to reduce the visitors to 29 for 2.

Promoted to no.3 after a she lit up the previous edition of the Women’s Big Bash League, Sammy Jo Johnson, struck two fours and a six on her way to a 11-ball 14, before she became Wong’s third victim of the day. Johnson, who had pulled Wong over the mid-wicket fence, tried to repeat the shot two deliveries later, and only managed to top edge it to Sophia Dunkley at mid-off.

At 45 for 3 in six overs, Burns joined Carey at the crease and the pair proceeded to share a 58-run stand in 7.1 overs. Carey was the more aggressive of the two, smashing five boundaries in her 33-ball 39, while Burns managed two boundaries and a six in her 29. She was dismissed by Mady Villiers while trying to sweep. At that stage Australia A had reached 103 for 4.

After the dismissal of Carey, Rachel Trenaman and Heather Graham pressed the accellerator in the final three overs to take the visitors to 154 for 5 in 20 overs. Trenaman was unbeaten on 20, while Graham scored an unbeaten 17.

For England Academy, Wong was the most successful bowler. The medium pacer finished with figures of 3 for 28 in three overs.

The hosts’ chase got off to the worst possible start when Johnson dismissed Bryony Smith in the third over of the innings. However, with Danielle Wyatt still in the middle, England Academy were always favourites. The right-hander though failed to get going, struggling through her innings before she was eventually dismissed for a 17-ball 16 by Molly Strano, the off-spinner. 37 for 3 soon became 38 for 3 when Sophie Dunkley, another England international, was run-out by Josie Dooley for one. 

Emma Lamb, who played an important role in England Academy’s victory over Ireland on Tuesday,  combined with Alice Davidson-Richards for an important 36-run assoacition before Burns struck with the ball. The off-spinner trapped Lamb lbw for 36, to dent England Academy’s chase again.

With 80 runs required of 54 balls, Australia A kept a tight leash on the scoring. While Jenny Gunn threatened with a cameo (16), Davidson-Richards was unable to find any rhythm in her batting, struggling to score freely. With the equation reduced to 50 runs required off 24 balls, Carey dismissed Gunn to put an end to the home team’s hopes. Davidson-Richards continued to wage a lone battle, but her 41-ball 40 was never going to be enough to help England Academy get over the line. Eventually the hosts finished with 134 for 6, 20 runs short of the target.

Johnson, Strano, Carey, Graham and Burns picked up a wicket each.

Brief Scores: Australia A 154 for 5 in 20 overs (Nicola Carey 39, Erin Burns 29; Issy Wong 3-28) beat England Academy 134 for 6 in 20 overs (Alice Davidson-Richards 40, Emma Lamb 36) by 20 runs.