Schutt’s career-best haul sets up thumping Australia victory

Australia 119 for 2 (Perry 57*) beat Pakistan 118 (Schutt 5-15) by eight wickets

Megan Schutt‘s career-best T20I figures, and a crisp half-century from Ellyse Perry opening the batting, spearheaded Australia to a convincing eight-wicket victory in the opening T20I against Pakistan as they began the final build-up to their T20 World Cup title in South Africa last month.

Schutt became the fourth Australia bowler to take a five-wicket haul in T20Is and finished with their third-best figures behind Molly Strano (5 for 10) and current team-mate Jess Jonasssen (5 for 12).

A target of 119 was always unlikely to challenge Australia and they eased home with 38 balls to spare. Perry, who earlier claimed 2 for 3 from two overs, opening with captain Meg Lanning as Beth Mooney managed what was termed a “niggle” although she had been able to keep throughout Pakistan’s innings.

Lanning was beaten by an excellent arm ball from Sadia Iqbal but Perry, dropped on 3 when Iqbal missed a tough return catch, followed her rapid scoring in India – and prolific WNCL form – with a confident 57 off 40 balls which included a six pulled over wide mid-on against a free hit from Fatima Sana.
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Schutt’s first wicket came courtesy of a superb catch down the leg side by Mooney to remove Bismah Maroof although Australia needed DRS to confirm it had touched the glove. Three balls later Sadaf Shamas spooned to mid-on as Pakistan lost their way after a promising start.

Schutt completed her maiden five-wicket haul when she returned at the death, getting Sana taken at cover then top-scorer Omaima Sohail and Tuba Hassan with slower deliveries.

However, the single standout moment of Australia’s display in the field was the remarkable return catch snaffled by Alana King from a fiercely struck drive by Nida Dar. King, who barely had time to react, flung out her right hand and even appeared to surprise herself at holding on.

King’s figures were only dented marginally in her last over when Ayesha Naseem launched her third six of an impressive counterattack, although King had her revenge.

Naseem’s 20-ball innings was the highlight of Pakistan’s display as she showed a boldness that is not always on display. She launched Tahlia McGrath into the fig tree over long-on and played a ferocious pull off Darcie Brown onto the grass bank at midwicket.

Brown had an off day which included consecutive no-balls in her opening over and the 34 she conceded was the most of what remains a T20 career in its infancy.

It had been Perry, a player at the opposite end of the experience spectrum, who had opened the wicket-taking for Australia with a superb yorker to remove Muneeba Ali which ended a spritely opening stand of 27 in 4.2 overs.

In her next over Perry added Javeria Khan via a bottom edge as Pakistan lost 4 for 5 but she wasn’t called upon to bowl again by Lanning who used seven options and that still left Annabel Sutherland not required.


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