Australia women 165 for 5 (Healy 48, Mooney 48, Riaz 2-25, Sandhu 2-42) beat Pakistan 113 for 8 (Maroof 26, Mir 21*, Schutt 2-13, Wareham 2-18) by 52 runs
In 21 previous limited-overs meetings over the years, Australia had never failed to beat Pakistan. And despite the fact that Australia weren’t entirely at their best in their World T20 opener, that record remained unblemished, with the gulf between the two sides starkly apparent right through the 40 overs. Ellyse Perry, Australia’s superstar allrounder, was only required to face two balls at the end of their innings, and to bowl one over.
Set 166 to win, Pakistan had to better their most successful chase by 33 runs. They never looked like getting close, apart from a brief period near the start of their innings when their No. 3, the exciting young Umaima Sohail, made an attractive 20 off 11 balls. Her run-out dismissal in the fifth over effectively ended Pakistan’s hopes, and they settled for batting out the 20 overs against a varied and accurate attack with three seam options and three different spin options.
Pakistan’s attack, on the other hand, was almost all spin, and their best bowler on the day turned out to be their only seam option, Aliya Riaz. She, however, only came on as third change, by which time Alyssa Healy had already put Australia on the path to a big total. Healy dominated a 72-run stand for the first wicket, facing 29 balls to Beth Mooney’s 19 and scoring 48 runs with nimble footwork against the spinners and a wide range of shots, of which the drives through and over extra-cover shone brightest.
She was particularly severe on left-arm spinners Nida Dar and Nashra Sandhu, off whom she shellacked a combined 23 off 10 balls, and looked set for a truly big score when she fell against the run of play, lofting Riaz without too much conviction and picking out long-on.
The left-handed Mooney survived a chance on 2 – Dar putting down a sitter at extra-cover – before easing into Healy’s slipstream with a commonsense knock brightened every now and then by a flowing cover drive. Having just hit Anam Amin’s offspin for two fours in a row, with that shot, she too fell in sight of a half-century, stepping out and miscuing Sandhu to long-on.
By then, Mooney had added 36 with Meg Lanning for the second wicket, off 37 balls, Healy’s departure and the easing of field restrictions allowing Pakistan to slow down the scoring with their changes of pace on a slow pitch. While she played the occasional jaw-dropping shot, the best of them a no-follow-through six over extra-cover off Sandhu, Lanning didn’t look entirely settled at the crease.
Riaz, in particular, tied Lanning up with tight lines and a bit of movement off the seam, and eventually Lanning dragged her on while trying to force the pace. That came in the final over of the innings, which also brought Australia the run-out dismissal of Elyse Villani and only seven runs. It capped an impressive performance from Riaz, but there wasn’t enough bite in the rest of the bowling, or enough power in the batting, for it to make any real impact on the game for Pakistan.