Australia ease to first-up T20 win against South Africa

Alex Mitchell |

Alyssa Healy has overcome illness and will lead Australia against South Africa in the T20 clash.
Alyssa Healy has overcome illness and will lead Australia against South Africa in the T20 clash.

A batting class from Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney has helped Australia ease to victory in their series-opening T20 contest with South Africa.

Captain Healy was in doubt for the clash at Manuka Oval on Saturday after suffering from an illness, but proved her fitness and then carved a match-winning 46 as her side chased down the tourists’ 6-147.

Star batter Beth Mooney cashed in late and finished with an unbeaten 72 to continue strong recent form for the national team, Australia sealing the result with five balls and eight wickets to spare.

A tidy half-century from South Africa opener Tazmin Brits wasn’t enough to carry her team to a respectable total against the reigning world champions.

Healy looked in brilliant touch from the moment she took to the crease and quickly broke the back of the chase, smacking two sixes and six fours in her 46 off 28 balls.

An audacious flick over mid-wicket to cart Marizanne Kapp for four was probably the shot of the innings, although a massive six hit straight back over Nonkululeko Mlaba’s head also caught the eye.

“We know Alyssa Healy does everything she can to play for Australia and she’s never going to miss a game, if she’s going to score runs like that, she can be unwell any day,” Mooney said.

“It’s always nice to be at the other end when she’s doing that, it’s a sight to behold.

“She’s always been a player that entertains the crowd and plays her game with such freedom and flair.”

By the time Healy fell chipping Nadine de Klerk to long-on, Australia were virtually home, with Mooney and Tahlia McGrath (24) steering them to victory in the final over.

Beth Mooney.
Beth Mooney whips one to the leg side during her innings of 72 not out at Manuka Oval. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Mooney played some masterful strokes in finding 11 fours and a huge six that completed the result.

“‘T-Mac’ and I lost our way through the middle after that big partnership, South Africa actually executed their plans and deliveries quite well and made it a little bit difficult for us through the middle to score,” Mooney said.

“They did bowl exceptionally well, in an ideal world it wouldn’t have taken until the last over, but sometimes that happens.”

For South Africa, Brits got bogged down early but got going to hit two sixes and six fours while carrying her bat through the innings.

Sune Luus (19) worked well with Brits and hoiked Georgia Wareham for consecutive fours through cow-corner. However, she fell on the very next ball, Healy taking a crafty leg-side catch behind the stumps.

“We didn’t build partnerships which we should have also done,” Brits said.

“We were maybe looking for boundaries too much, especially in my case because I saw my balls faced were way above my runs, I almost felt like I needed to hit a boundary every single ball instead of just maybe rotating strike and keeping the scoreboard ticking.”

Australia pace bowler Darcie Brown (2-20) picked up two crucial early scalps, while Ellyse Perry also helped limit the scoring with 2-13 off her three overs.

Canberra will host the second T20 on Sunday morning, before the series shifts to Hobart on Tuesday.

AAP