Courtesy of some outstanding hitting from Australia captain Alyssa Healy and veteran opener Beth Mooney, Australia easily defeated South Africa in their opening Twenty20 International match of the series. Due to her sickness, the wicketkeeper-batter was doubtful for the match at Manuka Oval. However, she showed well and went on to score the game-winning 46, helping the hosts win with five balls and eight wickets remaining.
Tazmin Brits, the South African opener, scored a fine half-century to help her team reach 147 for 6, but that was far short of a competitive total against the powerful Australians. Beth Mooney maintained her excellent recent success by cashing in late and finishing with an undefeated 72.
With two sixes and six fours in her 46 off 28 balls, Healy swiftly broke the back of the chase and looked in excellent touch from the time she took to the crease. The shot of the innings was likely an outrageous flick over midwicket that trapped South African bowler Marizanne Kapp for four, but there was also a huge six-hit straight back over Nonkululeko Mlaba’s head that was quite impressive.
Australia were practically home by the time Healy fell, chipping Nadine de Klerk to long-on. Mooney and Tahlia McGrath, who found scoring hard work, led Australia to victory in the last over, never looking like they would lose. The world’s top two batsmen for the ICC, Mooney and Colin Munro, combined to contribute 65 runs to the total. Mooney executed some exquisite shots to find 11 fours and a massive six to round out the score.
With three T20Is, three ODIs, and a Test match scheduled over the next month, South Africa and Australia are playing a multi-format series, but it wasn’t the start the team was hoping for. The middle of the innings saw the Brits come to life as Grace Harris’s foot brushed the boundary rope during an attempted spectacular catch. Earlier in the innings, they were hardly able to muster a run.
As the cornerstone of South Africa’s batting, she seized the second opportunity, smashing two sixes and six fours while steadily supporting her bat throughout the innings. Sune Luus was an excellent teammate for the British and used cow-corner to hoick Georgia Wareham four times in a row. But on the very next ball, Healy made a superb leg-side catch behind the stumps, and she fell.
Ellyse Perry also contributed to limiting the South African score with 2 for 13 off her three overs. This was the first time since February 2020 that Perry had bowled more than two in a T20I innings. Australian speed bowler Darcie Brown claimed two significant early wickets with a 2 for 20 total. Before the series moves to Hobart on Tuesday, Canberra will host the second Twenty20 International on Sunday morning.
Brief Scores: Australia vs South Africa 1st T20I
South Africa 147/6 in 20 overs (Tazmin Brits 59*; Ellyse Perry 2-13, Darcie Brown 2-20) lost to Australia 149/2 in 19.1 overs (Beth Mooney 72*, Alyssa Healy 46) by 9 wickets.