England Women v Australia Women, 1st semi-final

Women's World Twenty20, 2009

At The Oval, June 19. England won by eight wickets. Toss: England.

England's ambitions to own both world titles and the Ashes nearly came unstuck when they faced Australia in the finest women's Twenty20 match to date. It justified the growing reputation of a game which had been improving for years, but largely behind a curtain: when the women emerged on to the Oval stage, they bestrode it with immeasurable confidence. Australia happily played their shots after being sent in, with Karen Rolton's pulled six over midwicket one of many highlights. Their total was one short of the tournament's highest to date, their own 164 for six against South Africa. When England captain Charlotte Edwards fell in the seventh over, the asking-rate was 9.3. Then, with the 10,000-strong crowd enthralled, Claire Taylor and Beth Morgan silenced some senseless sledging with an exquisitely paced, unbeaten partnership of 122 (the second-highest for any wicket in women's Twenty20 internationals) which pushed England to their towering target with three balls remaining. Taylor masterminded the best run-chase of the fortnight - by men or women - with a 53-ball 76, winning it with her eighth four, while Morgan thumbed her nose at critics of the middle order. With Rolton about to hand over the captaincy, how Australia would have loved to contest the final, to make up for their World Cup failure on home soil in March! Playing their part in boosting the game's profile was little consolation; yet the world had woken up to women's cricket at last.

Player of the Match: S. C. Taylor.

© John Wisden & Co.