Australia hold off England at Cricket World Cup on record day | Women’s Cricket World Cup

Rachael Haynes barely had a look the last time a Women’s Over-50 World Cup was played, in 2017: she was only selected for two of the matches – both times only because Meg Lanning was out with a shoulder injury. A game in Australia’s 2022 campaign and how the tables have turned.

On Saturday, Haynes led the charge, achieving her first World Cup century as she led Australia to a 12-point win in their tournament opener against England. Lanning, meanwhile, joined her for a record second-wicket stand of 196 (the highest partnership against England in an ODI), but was generally content to play second fiddle, dropping 14 runs within a century of it.

It was a day to break records. By the time Haynes was dismissed in the penultimate innings, focusing on deep midwicket, she had 130 runs to her name – the highest individual tally achieved against England in a World Cup. A mini-assault from Ellyse Perry (14 on five), which broke three boundaries in Sophie Ecclestone’s final, took Australia to a 310-for-three tally – the highest against England in a World Cup.

Unassailable? Only just, as it happened. At 232 for six in the 42nd, England looked down and out, but when it comes to Katherine Brunt, you should never count them.

Joining fiancé Nat Sciver at the crease, the pair broke 64 balls from 45 to bring England within touching distance of victory. Only a superb one-handed catch from Jess Jonassen, tasked with defending 15 from the last, could do for Brunt. Sciver, who had thrown a brilliant 79 cent in the 48th with a sneaky little paddle through a slender leg, finished unbeaten in the 109th as Australia’s convincing victory turned into a power-biter. nails. Just one game for the defending champions and it’s pretty clear this World Cup is going to be a wild ride.

“In tournaments it’s good to have those close fights and to be pushed – England certainly did that today,” Haynes said. “Coming away with the win is a really positive start to our campaign.”

Sciver, too, was keen to take the positives. “It’s frustrating [not to get the win] but also very encouraging,” she said. “From where we were at the end of the Ashes, being able to turn things around in a matter of weeks is really important. We’ve seen some high-scoring games in the tournament before and it’s important for us to do the same.

Australia's Alana King celebrates Sophia Dunkley's wicket.
Australia’s Alana King celebrates Sophia Dunkley’s wicket. Photograph: Andrew Cornaga/AP

England’s pursuit had started limply before Sciver’s cent showed the way to brighter things. The usual suspects did their thing: Lauren Winfield-Hill pocketed a four-ball duck, while Amy Jones escaped midwicket in single digits. Meanwhile, Heather Knight (40) showed her intention, stepping onto the pitch to smack Jonassen’s first ball for six years, while Tammy Beaumont (74) became the fastest woman to reach 3 000 ODI races.

Fittingly, on a day when the cricketing world was united in mourning the untimely death of Shane Warne, it was leg spinner Alana King (three for 59) who further shattered England’s hopes, making for Sophia Dunkley just as her sixth wicket partnership with Sciver seemed to be gaining momentum. After ripping the ball past Beaumont’s outside edge and leaving her puzzled, King patted his black armband to acknowledge the debt.

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Earlier, after being put to bat by Knight, Australia’s innings had begun with the necessary graft from Lanning and Haynes. “I found it very difficult at the start, it was slow to pass and England had a bit of an early swing,” Haynes said. “They were really disciplined with their lines, it was hard to start.”

It wasn’t until both players secured their half-century in the 31st that they felt capable of stepping up. The fact that the innings ended in style, with Haynes and Beth Mooney (27 of 19) scoring 59 runs from the final five overs, proved to be Australia’s salvation.