Tahlia McGrath was on fire with both bat and ball as she powered Australia home in the Women's Ashes opener. Image: cricket.com.au

Tahlia McGrath continued her breakthrough international 2021'22 season with her all-round power guiding Australia to victory in the Women's Ashes opener

Tahlia McGrath has continued her breakout international summer, leading Australia to a comfortable nine-wicket win in the first T20 in the Women’s Ashes at the Adelaide Oval.

In her first outing in Australian colours in her home state, McGrath delivered a Player of the match performance, with contributions of 3/26 with the ball and scored 91* with the bat in a stunning all-round performance.

Combining with the skipper Meg Lanning (64* off 44 balls), McGrath helped deliver Australia thier highest ever T20i run chase and form a 144 run second wicket partnership. The highest partnership of the entire Ashes summer so far.

With Australia already dealing with the loss of Beth Mooney to injury days out from the opening game, prompted a shift in the batting order for the Australians with captain Meg Lanning promoting herself to open the batting.

The vacancy at first drop was filled by McGrath, who after her breakout series against India in October where she was awarded player of the series, won a selection battle over the highly experienced and arguably, the biggest name in the women’s cricket game Ellyse Perry.

It’s quite a thing to seemingly be approaching the end of the Ellyse Perry era (in T20Is at any rate), and immediately have Tahlia McGrath ready to take on the mantle.

She raced to 50 off 28 balls, repeatedly piercing the gaps of a stacked off-side field before taking a liking to leg spinner Sarah Glenn, connecting sweetly for a pull shot to loft her into the stands for a maximum.

In just her third T20 game for Australia, McGrath is yet to be dismissed, with scores of 42*, 44* and 91*.

She looked like she was having fun and batting freely and carrying on her breakout summer. Which was exactly the way she described it speaking to media post-game. Describing her excitement to get selected and up for this match.

“I was so excited for this match,” McGrath said post-game.

“The first time playing for Australia in my home state, having my friends and family in the crowd, I was that excited to get out there and just really enjoyed every minute of it.

“Maybe that contributed to it? Really special game and really good to start off the Ashes series with a win”

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Earlier, Meg Lanning won the toss and elected to field first and the experienced England openers in Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt dug in and made life hard for the Australian bowlers.

After a miserly opening three overs, Danni Wyatt launched in the fourth over, lofting Jess Jonnasen for consecutive sixes to get England’s innings moving. 

The pair passed the 50 run partnership by the end of the powerplay and reached the drinks break unbroken before Alana King, on international debut broke through with the wicket of Beaumont straight after the resumption.

Nat Sciver survived an early scare after having an LBW decision overturned on DRS as she and Wyatt continued to build a big score before McGrath intervened in the 17th over, removing both set batters in one over to swing the momentum of the game.

“Meg came up to me and said bowl full and straight, me in the past, I haven’t been great at executing my yorkers so I said I’d give it my best shot” she said

“It’s a ball I’ve been practicing over the pre-season but still not a ball I’m fully confident with so pretty lucky they came off tonight, hopefully, I can execute a few more throughout the series”

Facing a record chase, McGrath said they thought the score was “around par” having restricted England to 4/169 when at one stage they looked set to score 180+.

“We thought it was probably par on that wicket,” McGrath said.

“It played quite nicely and they obviously got off to a really good start and we were quite happy with the way we pegged them back.

“We thought it was par, and we knew that if we played good cricket shots with a quick outfield on a good wicket, we’d get the runs.

Australia chased the runs with three overs to spare, scoring the first two points from the T20 series with two points on offer each game.

Games two and three are back at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday and Sunday.

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