Where there had been no women’s T20 International centuries in Australia before Tuesday (November 21), there were suddenly two from two openers, making for a thrilling finale to the multi-format Women’s Ashes. Australia, as holders, had already retained the Ashes, but England ensured the points tally would read 8-8 with a special four-wicket win in the final T20I in Canberra.
Beth Mooney became the first woman to score a T20I century in Australia, her unbeaten 117 off 70 balls setting up the home side’s 178 for 2. Danni Wyatt then upped that with 100 off 57 balls under pressure, helping England pull off the highest chase ever in the format, with an over to spare.
Where Mooney had 19 fours and one six, Wyatt, the first English woman to made a T20I hundred, struck 13 fours and two sixes. They were only the fifth and sixth women respectively to reach the three-figure mark.
Opening the batting with Alyssa Healy after Australia won the toss, Mooney began with a four, and never stepped off the gas. Nifty footwork progressed to cheeky paddles and sweeps, as her shots came on both sides of the wicket and the square.
No England bowler was spared, as the opening pair added 59 in 7.4 overs, before Katherine Brunt and a diving Heather Knight combined to break the stand.
There was little stopping Mooney, though. She dominated an unbroken 75-run third-wicket stand with Ellyse Perry (22 not out). Mooney got to her hundred in 65 balls, and finished with a flurry of four consecutive boundaries all around the ground in the last over of Anya Shrubsole.
Mooney’s is the second-highest individual score in women’s T20Is, behind Meg Lanning’s 126 against Ireland in the 2014 Women’s World T20 in Bangladesh.
Australia’s time-tested tactic of opening with Jess Jonassen, the left-arm spinner, paid off again, with Tammy Beaumont unable to generate enough on the ball to clear mid-off. Rachael Haynes, diving forward, pouched Sarah Taylor in Jonassen’s next, while a direct hit from Elyse Villani sent back Nat Sciver to have England on the ropes at 30 for 3.
It looked like the visitors were crumbling under the pressure, but Australia paid dearly for dropped catches, with Knight especially making the most of the lives granted to her.
Wyatt and Knight kept the run-rate in check, finding the boundaries with ease and showing little hesitation in charging down the track.
The 100-run partnership came off 58 balls. The duo had added 139 and needed ten more runs when Knight (51 off 37) was run out, soon after bringing up her own half-century.
Wyatt, who had made a fighting maiden fifty in the opening T20I, brought up her century with a single and celebrated with a fist pump. It was the first ever ton in a chase.
Two wickets to Delissa Kimmince in the 19th over caused a flutter, but the hard work being done, all it took was boundary from Fran Wilson to get England to 181 for 6, and comfortably across the line.
England thus won the T20I leg 2-1, while Australia took the honours in the ODIs by a similar score line. The one-off Test, which saw a double-century from Perry, finished in a draw.
Brief scores: Australia Women 178/2 in 20 overs (Beth Mooney 117*) lost to England Women 181/6 in 19 overs (Danni Wyatt 100, Heather Knight 51; Jess Jonassen 2-25, Delissa Kimmince 2-30) by four wickets. Player of the Match: Danni Wyatt.