Twitter Reactions: Heather Knight leads from front as England defeat Australia in 1st ODI to level Women's Ashes series

The Women's Ashes series is now leveled at 6-6, with two more ODIs to be played.

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England Women
England Women. (Photo Source: Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

The much-awaited ODI series of the Women's Ashes 2023 got underway on July 12, Wednesday, as England and Australia crossed swords at the County Ground in Bristol. All three games hereon were must-win for the hosts as they looked to clinch the Ashes series, while the visitors were just one win away from reclaiming the Ashes. But eventually, England outplayed Australia to wake a 1-0 lead, thereby leveling the Ashes series 6-6 and keeping their hopes of winning it alive.

It all began with Australia winning the toss and deciding to bat first. But the decision seemed to backfire when seamer Kate Cross sent Australian skipper Alyssa Healy packing on the fourth delivery of the game. Australian top-order batters Phoebe Litchfield (34 off 36) and Ellyse Perry (41 off 51) tried to overcome the early loss and built a 61-run partnership for the second wicket before the former was dismissed by Natalie Sciver-Brunt, courtesy of a brilliant catch by Sophie Ecclestone.

Australia then rode on Perry's composed knock and middle-order batter Beth Mooney's unbeaten 99-ball 81, which helped the visiting side to keep going. The English bowlers kept picking wickets at regular intervals and derailed Australia's momentum but they could not stop Mooney from her assault. Some late assistance by Jess Jonassen (30 off 39) and Georgia Wareham (12 off 6) helped Australia close their innings at 263/8 in 50 overs.

Skipper Heather Knight leads England's record-chase

England too received a major setback at the start of their chase, as Perry succeeded in dismissing opener Sophia Dunkley in the fourth over. But Tammy Beaumont and Alice Capsey set the tone straight as they stitched up a 74-run partnership for the second wicket. Beaumont fell just three runs short of a half-century and was dismissed by Wareham, and Capsey followed her next as Australian bowlers managed to get two big wickets.

While skipper Heather Knight kept the scoreboard ticking, she could not form a formidable partnership in the middle. Her 42-run stand with Nat Sciver-Brunt kept England in race, but the latter’s wicket led to shift in the momentum. Danni Wyatt, Amy Jones, Sophie Ecclestone, and Sarah Glenn failed to put up a show as Knight took charge of the run-scoring.

Some brilliant assistance from Kate Cross under pressure during the final few overs of the chase saw England getting back into the game. Kate notched up four boundaries and added crucial runs on board while forming an unbeaten and winning partnership of 32 runs with Heather Knight for the ninth wicket. Knight scored the winning runs and scored 75* off 56 as the hosts clinched a magnificent victory, thereby putting an end to Australia’s 15-match ODI winning streak.

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