Sophie Molineux dismantles Pakistan's top-order; Australia lead 1-0

Sophie Molineux dismantles Pakistan's top-order; Australia lead 1-0

Sophie Molineux in action. ©PCB

In the first Twenty-20 between Pakistan and Australia, Australia triumphed over Pakistan, winning by 64 runs. Batting first, Australia posted a mammoth 195-3 on the board. In reply, Pakistan could only manage 131-7.

Australian openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney set the tone of the innings with their 75-run opening stand. The two epitomized the "fearless brand of cricket" the Australian's pride themselves on, showing their intent. Both batted positively, challenging the Pakistani bowlers, who had no reply. Mooney was the first wicket to fall. She was caught LBW by Nashra Sandhu and departed for a well-made 26-ball-38.

Healy though, continued her good Twenty-20 form. She went on to score her third consecutive Twenty-20 half-century. Her 59-run knock consisted of nine fours and two maximums. She was dismissed on 59, by Aliya Riaz. Her captain, Meg Lanning soon followed suit, caught LBW on six, off the bowling of Nida Dar. Ashleigh Gardener and Elyse Villani then really accelerated. The two smashed boundaries to all parts of the ground, leaving the Pakistani bowlers helpless. Gardener continued her ominous form, scoring back-to-back half-centuries. She hammered her way to an unbeaten 37-ball-63. A useful cameo of 18 from Villani helped lift Australia's total to a daunting 195-3. While boundaries did come frequently for the tourists', they also ran brilliantly between the wickets to boost their total.

It was a bad day for the Pakistani bowlers. Aliya Riaz finished with the best figures from the squad; 1-24 off three overs. The fact that her economy rate of eight runs an over was the lowest of any of the bowlers in green, shows the aggression with which Australia played. Sana Mir, who had been Pakistan's most prominent bowler in the ODI series, was the most expensive. From her four overs, she leaked 46 runs and remained wicket-less. The only other bowlers to take wickets were Nida Dar and Nashra Sandhu, who claimed a scalp each.

In complete contrast to Australia's positive start, Pakistan got off to a disastrous one. Opener Muneeba Ali was stumped off the bowling of Sophie Molineux for a duck. Pakistan were reduced to 1-1. Ali's wicket brought captain Javeria Khan to the crease. She started her innings off positively, hitting the first delivery she faced for a four. Her stay on the crease however, was short-lived. Following the trend of her ODI innings, where she got starts but did not capitalize on them, Khan was dismissed on 16, caught and bowled by Molinuex.

Debutant Omaima Sohail then joined Nahida Khan at the crease. Sohail started her international career positively, scoring a 23-ball-25 in her maiden international innings, that too against the top-ranked Twenty-20 side. Her 55-run partnership with N. Khan helped stabilize Pakistan's innings. Once N. Khan was dismissed for 43 off 32 deliveries, Pakistan suffered a collapse. They lost the next five wickets in the space of 49 runs. This severely set back their run-rate. Though it never looked like Pakistan could chase the total down, while N. Khan and Sohail were at the crease, it did seem like they would get quite close to it. They will no doubt be disappointed by the cluster of wickets they lost. Because of it, they finished their innings on 131-7, when they could have at least reached 145.

The Australian bowlers did brilliantly to pin back Pakistan. Molineux starred with the ball and was named the Player-of-the-Match, finishing with figures of 4-16. She claimed the wickets of Pakistan's top three batters and of Riaz, who top-scored for her side in the last ODI. She did the bulk of the damage, while Megan Schutt, Delissa Kimmince and Georgia Wareham contributed with a wicket each.