England won the final IT20 by four wickets at the Manuka Oval after an incredible partnership between Danni Wyatt and captain Heather Knight.
Wyatt scored a remarkable maiden international hundred while Knight reached 51 in a superb stand that brought England from likely defeat to a thrilling victory as they spearheaded a record-breaking women’s IT20 chase after Australia posted 178/2.
Wyatt’s hundred was the second of the match after Beth Mooney’s. Mooney struck a quality century – the fifth in women’s IT20 cricket and the first on Australian soil – in another exemplary outing with the bat.
It was a huge total that England looked unlikely to chase down at 30/3 in the fifth over but Wyatt and Knight combined to put on a remarkable 139 to steer England towards the win.
Wyatt and Knight fell with the target nearing but England got there with Jenny Gunn and Fran Wilson at the crease to win by four wickets.
It means the multi-format series ends tied up at 8-8 apiece.
Australia retained the Ashes with their victory in the first IT20 at the North Sydney Oval but tonight’s win means England win the IT20 series and tie the rubber overall.
Australia gave an early indication of what a good batting wicket it was after winning the toss and choosing to bat, Mooney and Alyssa Healy finding the boundary with regularity to reach 47/0 after the powerplay.
They celebrated their 50 partnership, an ominous one for England, but Katherine Brunt ended it once they reached 59, Healy mistiming her slower ball with Knight doing the rest at cover – a good catch.
Elyse Villani was nearly dismissed without scoring but her slog-sweep went over Tammy Beaumont to land for six.
Mooney looked in such fine touch that already any deliveries to her partner were a boon for the visitors.
Villani kept her company for 34 runs before she was bowled by a flatter one from Sophie Ecclestone. Mooney wasn’t to be deterred though and she maintained the attack, taking 10 off a Knight over.
The left-handed opener was enjoying her evening and it was a chanceless knock in the main, with the exception of two very tough chances in one Sophie Ecclestone over – one potential stumping and a hard chance on the mid-wicket fence.
She reached her hundred in the 19th over and after she took 17 from the final over Australia would go on to amass 178/2 from their 20 overs.
It was always going to be a tough ask for England, no team in the history of women’s cricket had ever chased more than 165 to win an IT20.
They were going to need a good start but they got the polar opposite, Beaumont caught at mid-off in the first over.
Wyatt and Sarah Taylor found a few boundaries but Taylor was unable to make it last, picking out Rachael Haynes at cover to see England two down.
Wyatt survived when she was put down by Healy but in the next over she lost her partner Nat Sciver, run out after a sharp piece of work by Villani.
Knight was then given not one, not two but three lifelines as Australia spurned some golden chances to win the Ashes outright.
She took full advantage of her luck to move on to a fine half-century, and Wyatt a truly memorable hundred, as they took the game away from Australia.
They couldn’t be there to see their side over the line but England closed out a fantastic innings to win the IT20 series and tie the overall multi-format series at 8-8.
Report courtesy of the ECB