Beth Mooney steers Australia to victory over Proteas Women in first T20I

Australia’s Beth Mooney plays a shot in the first T20 international against the Proteas Women. Picture: Luus Coch / EPA

Australia’s Beth Mooney plays a shot in the first T20 international against the Proteas Women. Picture: Luus Coch / EPA

Published Jan 27, 2024


Top-order batter Beth Mooney scored an undefeated half-century to help Australia beat the Proteas Woman in the first T20 International (T20I) in Canberra on Saturday.

Player of the Match Mooney amassed 72 not out runs off 57 balls, including 11 fours and one six, as Australia successfully chased South Africa’s first innings score of 147/6.

Tazmin Brits was the Proteas’ top scorer with 59 not out off 54 deliveries (6x4, 2x6).

South Africa was put into bat after Australia won the toss and elected to field. The visitors lost opener Laura Wolvaardt early on after she found the fielder at point off the bowling of Darcie Brown (2/20) to depart for 16.

The visitors lost another wicket in the final over of the power play, with Marizanne Kapp (1) becoming Brown’s second scalp of the day to leave the Proteas 33/2 after six overs.

Although the innings began patiently for Brits, the imposing opening batter started to find her rhythm out in the middle as she recorded crucial boundaries alongside Suné Luus (19) to help take South Africa to 65/2 after 10 overs.

With the tourists enjoying a positive spell at the crease, Australia’s Georgia Wareham (1/33) made the all-important breakthrough as she found the slightest brush off Luus’ gloves to to be caught behind, South Africa 73/3.

The introduction of all-rounder Anneke Bosch (14) brought forward South Africa’s most dominant period of the innings as Bosch and Brits found boundaries with relative ease before the former was caught in the deep off Ellyse Perry (2/13).

With the Proteas Women on 100/4 after 14 overs, Brits and new batter Chloé Tryon (12) added a further 27 runs on the board as Brits reached her ninth T20I fifty before Tryon mistimed one of Perry’s slower balls to Ashleigh Gardner in the deep.

Despite disciplined death bowling from the Aussies, Brits and Nadine de Klerk (10) edged South Africa’s score closer to the 150-run mark before Klerk was run-out.

Needing 148 runs for victory, Australia’s opening pair of Alyssa Healy and Mooney gave their team as fast start, racing to 49/0 at the end of the power play.

All-rounder de Klerk (1/25) finally broke the deadlock for South Africa, picking up the dangerous Aussie captain Healy for a well-played 46 off 28 balls (6x4, 2x6) with Luus taking a smart catch on the boundary.

Despite losing her captain, Mooney teamed up with Tahlia McGrath (24) in fine fashion as the pair carried the home side to 84/1 at the drinks break before taking Australia into 100 in the 13th over.

The experienced duo combined for a significant 65-run partnership for the second wicket to lead their team towards victory. Although Kapp (1/25) picked up the late wicket of McGrath and took the match into the final over, the Aussies comfortably got over the line with five balls remaining.

The battle between South Africa and Australia continues in the second T20I on Sunday from 1.45pm SAST at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.

Cricket South Africa