Mooney and McGrath masterclass keeps Australia unbeaten

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Australia 160 for 2 (McGrath 78*, Mooney 70*) beat Pakistan 116 for 8 (Sana 35*, McGrath 3-13) with 44 runs

An unbroken third-wicket partnership worth 141 between Tahlia McGrath and Beth Mooney saved Australia from a shaky start against Pakistan to secure a third win out of as many matches at the Commonwealth Games.

Australia – already guaranteed a place in the semi-finals – had dropped to 19 for 2 in the first six overs before McGrath worked his way to 78 not out on 51 balls and Mooney hit an unbeaten 70 out 49 in Edgbaston. It was the fourth time McGrath… went unbeaten in her six T20I innings in her career. McGrath also took 3 for 13 from three overs when Pakistan’s chase of 161 faltered.

Pakistan was bundled out of the tournament after going winless from their three matches, meaning the winner of the evening game between India and Barbados would advance to the knockout stages with Australia from Group A.

Dream start for Pakistan

Pakistan couldn’t have hoped for a better start after limiting gold medal favorites to 22 for 2 in the power play, having claimed the prized wickets of Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning, both for just four runs each.

Healy was dropped in the first over of Diana Baig’s bowling when she sent a thick rim to the first slip, where Omaima couldn’t hold onto Sohail. However, the damage was limited when Healy fell without adding to her score in the next over, a superb throw from Fatima Sana who bent in, found the inside rim and clattered into the leg stump.

Sadia Iqbal, who played her first game of the Games, then skipped in the sixth with a gem to beat Lanning and backed off from the stump. After six overs, Australia had found the boundary just three times, scoring with a run rate of 3.67.

McGrath, Mooney provide a wake up call

McGrath and Mooney began to regain control, adding 36 runs in the next four overs to recover to 58 for 2 mid-innings. After reaching 30 from 24 balls, McGrath was assigned lbw to Iqbal when she landed on the back. was struck in an attempt to reverse the sweep, but the judgment overturned with replays showing the ball brushed her glove on the way through.

McGrath’s shot placement was superb. She stroked two fours into three balls from Sohail, muscled across cover and swept through backward square leg before transitioning to a 37-ball fifty into the next with a powerful drive to the long-range rope of Iqbal’s bowling.

Mooney raised her fifty in 42 balls with a single by Aiman ​​Anwer to also raise the score of the century. The 19th over, bowled by Sana, went for 21 runs, including a six for Mooney, launched over a deep square leg and McGrath finer but with plenty of power behind it. Twelve runs left from the final by Anwer, including four by McGrath covering a full toss to end the innings, led by Australia.

Pakistan’s Pursuit Fails

Pakistan was 8 for 2 after just two overs, with Megan Schutt clearing Muneeba Ali with the third ball from their answer and cutting straight to Darcie Brown on the back point. Brown then came in with Iram Javed’s wicket in the next over, attempting to draw Grace Harris short of midwicket.

After six overs, Pakistan had a 32-for-2 lead but needed something huge from captain Bismah Maroof. She enjoyed a letdown as she held Ash Gardner right in front of the center, where Harris capitalized on a simple opportunity.

Alana King, who took a career best 4 for 8 in Australia’s nine-wicket win over Barbados, went on the attack immediately afterwards and struck straight away, bowling Sohail with a beauty that brushed the pad and hit two-thirds of the leg stump up. When Aliya Riaz was eliminated, effectively sacrificed by Maof, who sent her back midway through a second run, Pakistan dropped to 47 for 4 in the 10th over.

McGrath also shines with the ball

McGrath capped off a wonderful all round effort with three wickets, including two in two balls. She had Ayesha Naseem well caught by King, she ran around too long to take a high just inside the rope.

She then ended Maof’s grueling 23-off 32-ball innings when a miscued drive sailed halfway through to Jess Jonassen and, the next ball, trapped Tuba Hassan lbw over a straight. When Baig left the hat-trick out alone, Healy smiled from behind the stumps on the first slip, where Lanning stood again and had dropped a flyout that would have given King a hat-trick in the previous game. Sana finished undefeated at 35, but her team fell far short.

Valkerie Baynes is general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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