It was a difficult moment for Australia as they began their 2022 Women’s World Cup campaign a day after the legendary Shane Warne and two days after the death of the great wicketkeeper Rod Marsh. The team, led by Meg Lanning, wore a pair of black bracelets in a tribute to the legends who died and sent the cricket community into shock.
However, Australia were determined and focused on the task at hand as they downed defending champions England by 12 runs at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday.
The two teams observed a minute’s silence before the game began and the much-anticipated early World Cup clash lived up to its expectations.
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Australia scored 310-3 first and a superb 79-ball century by England’s Nat Sciver kept England in the game until the final. Sciver was not out at the end of a stellar chase in England.
England needed 36 from the last three overs, 26 from the last two and 16 from the final but went down 298-8 in the end. Jess Johansen, who had given up 16 runs from her first two overs, mostly against Sciver, threw the final over and kept his nerve to claim Australia’s win.
#TeamAustralia come out
— ICC Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) March 5, 2022
It was an achievement Warne and Marsh, who have both been inspirational mentors to young Australian players, would have been proud of.
Opener Rachael Haynes made 130 balls from 131 and captain Meg Lanning 86 as Australia recorded the highest total ever in a World Cup match against England. Haynes and Lanning touched down 196 for Australia’s second wicket in the partnership on which the innings were founded.
It was Haynes’ second century in one-day internationals and her highest score, eclipsing her 118 against Sri Lanka in Brisbane in 2019. Lanning scored her 18th half-century in a one-day international and helped Haynes speed up Australia’s innings.
LEGGIE ALANA KING SHINES WITH THE BALL
Fittingly, it was leg spinner Alana King who stole the show from Australia with the ball as she picked up 3 wickets including that of Tammy Beaumont (74), Amy Jones (4) and Sophia Dunkley (28). The delivery to sack Beaumont spun amazingly from outside the leg stump, hitting the hitter with the spin before Alyssa Healy got the blunt. It was a fitting tribute to Warne and Marsh.