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June 25, 2009
Australia 151 for 3 (Rolton 43*, Poulton 33) beat England 117 for 6 (Claire Taylor 31, Rainford-Brent 23, Farrell 2-16) by 34 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
England's double World Cup-winners came crashing back down to earth with a bump as Australia romped to a comprehensive, revenge-seeking win in the one-off Twenty20 at Derby. Karen Rolton ensured Australia's competitive 151 for 3 with a perfectly paced 43, while Shelley Nitschke produced a fine all-round performance to pick up the Player-of-the-Match award.
Demonstrating their confidence - perhaps their over-confidence - England decided to omit Katherine Brunt and Caroline Atkins and include Isa Guha and Ebony Rainford-Brent, and their attack was all the less incisive for it. Guha has struggled to force her way into this strong, confident England side, but her lack of match-form showed, and she was no replacement for Brunt, who bent the ball viciously in a devastating opening spell of 3 for 6 from her four overs in the ICC World Twenty20 final.
Australia - sensationally beaten by England in a memorable semi-final last week - came out hard from the off, with a momentum-seizing opening partnership of 55 between Leah Poulton and Nitschke. England adopted their usual, yet still unusual, tactic of opening with Laura Marsh, the offspinner, but she was taken for 20 from two overs as Poulton carved her through extra cover before elegantly flicking another through midwicket. Guha struggled with her lines, offering leg-side strays and rank long-hops to the two Australia openers, with Nitschke clattering another half-volley through the covers for four.
England looked a little shell-shocked at the assault which brought Australia 47 from the first five overs, and Nicky Shaw - initially at least - couldn't improve on Marsh and Guha's wayward opening spell. But she quickly rediscovered a much fuller length to stifle the runs. Holly Colvin, too, was taken apart early on by Poulton - four over long-off, then long-on, but England's young spinner showed impressive resolve to bowl Poulton, who heaved across the line, for a slick 33 from 22.
The wicket enlivened England's fielders, but it didn't prevent a number of uncharacteristically sloppy mistakes in the field. Nevertheless, Shaw was beginning to assert some control on proceedings, and had Nitschke well-caught by Claire Taylor, swiftly moving to her left at mid-off. After 10 overs, Australia were 74 for 2, and England had clawed back the momentum in impressive fashion.
To the crease marched the daunting figure of Karen Rolton, but she too was contained and restricted to picking up singles and twos, with nudges off her hip and one deft late cut off. Only in the last two overs did Australia accelerate, largely thanks to Lauren Ebsary who smashed the innings first and only six, a wonderfully clean mow over midwicket off Jenny Gunn. That shot alone appeared to spur Rolton on, and she hammered Charlotte Edwards down the ground for another four.
England were ill-disciplined, to say the least, at the back-end of Australia's innings, with sloppy fielding and careless mistakes creeping in as Rolton and Ebsary put on exactly 50 in under six overs of urgent power-hitting. Australia marched off the happier side with 151 for 3 on the board and, unlike England, their opening bowlers were tidy and accurate to stifle the hosts' response.
Rene Farrell gained encouraging swing to the right-hander and had Sarah Taylor chipping to mid-on while Edwards holed out to deep midwicket and whereas Australia cracked 47 from their first five overs, England limped unconvincingly to 17 for 2. Those two wickets brought Claire Taylor and Beth Morgan, the stars of England's thrilling run-chase to beat Australia in the semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20, to the crease. Taylor began to open up in the ninth over, pulling Kirsten Pike over midwicket for a powerful and much-needed boundary. It was followed by a wonderful back-cut, timed to perfection to beat both square-leg and third man and she made it three in three with perhaps the day's most authoritative off-side drive, stepping outside leg and fairly thrashing Pike over extra cover for four.
It didn't last, as she miscued to long-off and Morgan followed in the next over when she found deep midwicket. Lydia Greenway briefly threatened, but became Erin Osborne's second wicket when she was deftly stumped by Jodie Fields, captaining Australia for the first time.
England, truth be told, lacked the dynamism which brought them their second world trophy in three months and looked a little tired and jaded. With five ODIs and the crucial Ashes Test around the corner, this has served as a vital reminder that for all England's undoubted success, Australia will always fight tooth and nail against the old enemy.