21/02/2024

The batting combination of Phoebe Litchfield and Meg Lanning takes game one of the series. (Image: Cricket Australia)

It was the coming together of new and old, debutant Phoebe Litchfield and Veteran Meg Lanning playing for the first time in six months, both scored half-centuries in a very dominating eight-wicket win over Pakistan at Allan Border Field by DLS Method.

The Inner Sanctum looks at the five takeaways from the first match of the women’s One-Day series between Australia and Pakistan.

Phoebe Litchfield is a very talented debutant 

Litchfield became the first Australian teenager to have an ODI half-century on debut as she finished with 78 runs from 92 deliveries without getting out.

The 19-year-old talent and Lanning shared a 137-run of their targeted 158 runs in a revised 29 overs.

In 71 balls faced, Litchfield achieved her half-century, playing aggressively and finding the boundary consistently.

Looking comfortable and ready for any ball she faced, Litchfield smacked back-to-back fours and then would hit a six before hitting the game-winning run to take the lead in the three-game series.

She becomes the eighth Australian woman to bring up a half-century on an ODI debut, being the eighth youngest to do so (19 years, 273 days).

Lanning didn’t skip a beat in her return

After taking a six-month break from cricket, Meg Lanning had a strong performance, scoring 67 runs from 76 balls faced. 

Lanning was caught from behind only 19 runs shy from victory, after maintaining a strong combination with Litchfield after Beth Mooney was bowled early in the innings.

On her way to 67 runs, Lanning passed 4500 one-day runs, achieving the milestone at the half-century mark on 62 balls faced.

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Australia’s bowling caught Pakistan off guard 

Even with rain causing delays, the bowling performance from Australia didn’t take too long to get going against a struggling Pakistan.

Darcie Brown struck early in the second over, with Muneeba Ali being caught on a duck that found Annabel Sutherland getting the ball in her hands on the run.

Sidra Amin was the next one to fall, being caught and bowled by Brown, getting her second wicket.

After rain delays that took places post the first two wickets, Tahlia McGrath was able to bowl a good delivery to Omaima Sohail, who was caught out by Ash Gardner.

The spin bowling from Ash Gardner, Jess Jonassen and Alana King really dominated the bowling scenes for Australia, keeping it tough for Pakistan’s batting innings. 

Pakistan’s tough day out 

Against Australia, it seemed like nothing really worked for Pakistan. 

Their aggressive, moving forward for the big hit to the boundary tactic would get them in trouble, stumped out and caught out hitting edged. 

Nida Dar was their best batter on the day, with 59 runs off 83 deliveries.

However, the spin bowling cut through the attack from Pakistan, with the batters making poor decisions and struggling to find a rhythm and flow in the 40 overs they faced. 

Their bowling approach was interesting, often going short and low, allowing Australia to attack the boundary.

Wet weather setting the tone for the series 

The first meeting between these two teams this series had rain and shower delays.

The weather set the tone for the game, hitting low and hard, the short bowls, and the use of spin bowlers.

These factors among others could be the difference in this series, especially with Australia taking the 1-0 lead comfortably on the front foot.

From a fielding approach, the game was more face-up defensively, with Pakistan being more around the circle defending their 160 runs on a revised over total when Australia was batting. 

The standard in approach might be set in this series, regardless of the weather conditions.

Game Two will take place on Wednesday morning (Australian time) with Pakistan aiming to even the series.

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