England Levels Women’s Ashes with 1st ODI Win
Skipper Heather Knight played a sensational innings of 75 not out to guide England women to a thrilling two-wicket victory over Australia in the first ODI of the Women’s Ashes series in Bristol. This triumph leveled the series at six points apiece and set the stage for an exciting battle ahead.
Australia posted a competitive total of 263 for 8, thanks to Beth Mooney’s unbeaten knock of 81. Despite some sloppy fielding from England, Mooney held the innings together as wickets fell at regular intervals. Opener Phoebe Litchfield contributed 34 runs, while Ellyse Perry and Jess Jonassen added 41 and 30 runs respectively, bolstering Australia’s score.
In response, England got off to a flying start with Tammy Beaumont (47) and Alice Capsey, reaching 103-1. However, they encountered a stumble as the game progressed. Nat Sciver-Brunt’s dismissal for 31 left England at 163-4, and with just two wickets remaining, they still required 29 runs to secure victory.
Amidst a lower-order collapse, Knight showcased remarkable composure, anchoring the innings. She found an able partner in seamer Kate Cross, who scored a vital 19 runs off 20 balls. Together, they formed an unbroken partnership, guiding England to victory with 11 balls to spare. Knight struck the winning runs through the covers, completing England’s highest-ever successful run chase in ODI cricket.
Reflecting on her match-winning performance, Knight expressed her delight at being there till the end. She acknowledged the challenging circumstances and praised Kate Cross for her nerve and determination. The skipper lauded her team’s outstanding effort in defeating a formidable opponent.
This victory halted Australia’s impressive 15-match winning streak in ODIs and marked England’s third consecutive triumph over the reigning world champions, following their wins in the final two T20 internationals. However, England’s quest to reclaim the Ashes remains unfinished. They must win the remaining two ODIs to regain the coveted trophy for the first time since 2014, after Australia’s triumph in the one-off Test and the first T20.