Australia women 4 for 134 (Mooney 86*) beat England women 9 for 132 (Wyatt 50, Schutt 4-22) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
England's early shambles proves costly
Adam Collins and Geoff Lemon look back on Australia's comfortable win in the 1st T20I to retain the Women's Ashes
If, as England's players said, this was the first of three knockout matches, then they have been eliminated in the quarter-finals. Australia sealed the Ashes with a commanding defeat of in the first Twenty20 match at North Sydney Oval, dictating terms from the beginning to allow Beth Mooney to settle the matter with the bat.
After the delayed and ultimately denied resolution of the one-off Test match at the same venue, this was an encounter that moved in fast forward almost from the start. Winning the toss and sending England in, the Australians had the wicket of the visiting captain Heather Knight second ball of the match and seldom looked back thereafter.
This result was a triumph for Australia and their stand-in captain Rachael Haynes, not least because they were never able to call upon the talents and leadership of Meg Lanning due to her rehabilitation from shoulder surgery. Unlike the World Cup, where Haynes stood in at short notice, the hosts had the chance to plan for the Ashes, and have emerged the better, and better organised, side.
Opening the face of the bat, Knight got a thin edge to Jess Jonassen's second delivery, which was ruled to have been cleanly taken by Alyssa Healy behind the stumps and before she reflexively moved her gloves forward to remove the bails.
When Megan Schutt won an lbw verdict against Sarah Taylor with the first ball of the second over of the night, England were already stuck in the sort of ravine it is seldom easy to get out of in the game's most truncated format. Two more quick wickets to Ellyse Perry duly followed, leaving England a sorry 4 for 16.
That they made a partial recovery from such depths was largely down to Danni Wyatt, who played with freedom and no little intelligence to run up a half century from just 36 balls. Hers was the sort of strike rate England had needed collectively to set a sufficient target, but the early losses made this impossible.
Australia's chase was only going to run into difficulty with a similar rush of wickets to the new ball, but while Healy did not last long, Mooney played with a clinical kind of aggression that quickly turned a small target miniscule. The visiting spin bowlers Sophie Ecclestone, Danielle Hazell and Alex Hartley all chimed in on a slowing pitch, but their wicket apiece served primarily to bring Haynes to the wicket for the last joyous yards of the chase.
Australian celebrations at the finish were rapturous and rightly so. Having given up ownership of the World Cup, they have retained possession of the key bilateral garland on which they stake their careers and reputations. In some style, too.