McGrath-Mooney show helps Australia finish Group stages unbeaten

McGrath and Mooney © Getty Images

Tahlia McGrath and Beth Mooney’s record-breaking partnership for the third wicket helped Australia remain unbeaten in Group A at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Wednesday (August 3). McGrath also registered her best bowling figures in T20Is as Australia defeated Pakistan by 44 runs.

Playing their final game of the group stage, Meg Lanning won the toss and opted to bat first at Edgbaston. Pakistan’s disciplined bowling troubled Australia in the power play as they lost opener, Alyssa Healy, in Fatima Sana’s first over. ICC’s Emerging player of the year 2021 showed her class with a beautiful delivery that rattled Healy’s leg stump. Lanning’s struggle against left-arm spinners continued as Sadia Iqbal dislodged the off stump. 

McGrath joined Mooney when Australia were struggling at 18 for two in the final over of the power play. With the spread field, the right-left batting combination started rebuilding Australia’s innings. The pair looked at ease as they were 58 for two after the first 10 overs. The 12th over saw them bring the partnership of 50 runs as McGrath survived the LBW appeal. 

Australia started the counter-attack as McGrath brought up her third T20I century off just 37 balls with a powerful boundary down the ground. While the right-hander escalated the proceedings, Mooney wasn’t far behind as she found boundary off Fatima Sana. The southpaw brought her 14th 50+ score up as the century partnership also came up in the 18th over. Australia clobbered 33 runs in the last two overs to score 160 for two in the first innings.

McGrath remained unbeaten on 78 while Mooney scored 70 off 49 balls, and the pair registered Australia’s highest partnership for the third wicket. 

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Pakistan’s chase started in the worst way possible as they lost left-hander Muneeba Ali for a duck in the very first over. Iram Javed clobbered half volley gifted by Darcie Brown for a boundary through covers, but her attempt to pull against the same bowler did not yield the same result. Grace Harris took an easy catch to reduce Pakistan to eight for two in just the second over. 

Some patient batting from captain Bismah Maroof and an aggressive approach from Omaima Sohail helped them survive the power play. The pair added 36 runs for the third wicket and looked comfortable before spin wizard Alana King sent Sohail packing with her first ball of the match. McGrath’s handy work from the boundary line ended Aliya Riaz’s innings before she could get going. Halfway through the innings, Pakistan were 49 for four as Ayesha Naseem joined Maroof. 

McGrath took two back-to-back wickets in the 17th over, including Maroof to skittle Pakistan even more. Fatima Sana offered some late hitting as she dismissed Jonassen over long-on to register the first six of Pakistan’s innings. She repeated the same against Schutt, but it was too little too late as Australia romped home by 44 runs. 

Brief Scores: Australia 160/2 in 20 overs (Tahlia McGrath 78*, Beth Mooney 70*; Sadia Iqbal 1/28) beat Pakistan 116/8 in 20 overs (Fatima Sana 35*, Tahlia McGrath 3/13) by 44 runs