Women's Ashes: Katherine Brunt keeps England's hopes of drawing Australia series alive

Not taking the new ball on this occasion, Brunt put the brakes on in mid-innings, aided by a superb stumping from Sarah Taylor (second left)
Women’s Ashes: Second Twenty20 international, Canberra:
England 152-6 (20 overs): Sciver 40, Schutt 2-16
Australia 112 (18 overs): Healy 24, Gunn 4-13, Brunt 2-10
England (2pts) won by 40 runs; Australia lead multi-format series 8-6

Katherine Brunt starred with bat and ball as England kept their hopes of a drawn Women’s Ashes series alive with a 40-run win over Australia in the second Twenty20 international in Canberra.

Brunt (32 not out) and Natalie Sciver (40) helped England post 152-6 from their 20 overs after they won the toss.

Jenny Gunn (4-13) and Brunt (2-10) then helped bowl the hosts out for 112.

The Aussies, who are already assured of retaining the trophy, now lead the points-based multi-format series 8-6.

England can level the series if they win the final T20 match, also at the Manuka Oval, on Tuesday.

Brunt has a batting strike rate of 98.28 in T20 international cricket

Brunt’s big day

A wholehearted character who has worn her heart on her sleeve since her England debut in 2004, Brunt would have felt Friday’s defeat – which ended England’s hopes of regaining the Ashes – as keenly as anyone, having been dismissed for a golden duck and then bowling three overs for 33 runs.

Having worked hard on her batting in the past couple of years, she is desperate to repay the faith shown in her by captain and coach which has seen her promoted up the order in T20 cricket.

This time, a platform had been set by the elevation of Danielle Wyatt (19 from 16 balls) to open, and when Brunt came to the crease in the 13th over after Sarah Taylor (30) ran herself out, she helped England post what proved to be a competitive total – and could have been even higher had Taylor and Sciver not got themselves out when well set.

Brunt’s unbeaten 32 came off 24 balls, hitting back-up seamers Delissa Kimmince and Sarah Aley for two big sixes down the ground off successive overs.

With her regular new-ball partner Anya Shrubsole fit again, Brunt – for once – was not asked to bowl in the powerplay. She was instrumental in putting the squeeze on Australia in mid-innings, her four overs costing only 10 runs, aided by a slick Taylor stumping which removed Elyse Villani.

Gunn, another of the side’s veterans, has sometimes been a bit-part player for England in this series – being left out of the Test XI – but proved her worth with ball in hand on her 250th international appearance.

The seamer broke a useful opening stand of 45 by having Alyssa Healy caught at mid-on, ran fellow opener Beth Mooney out with a direct hit, and returned to wrap up the tail with some accurate slower balls.

Megan Schutt (2-16 from four overs) bowled a superb final over but England were out of Australia’s reach

‘Clinical from ball one and held their catches’ – what they said

Ex-England seamer Isa Guha on BBC Test Match Special: “England have been clinical from ball one. Danni Wyatt got them off to a great start, other players continued that momentum, they’ve looked in control and held all their catches. They haven’t become a bad team overnight – they generally don’t start overseas tours well and were found wanting in that first T20.”

Player of the match Katherine Brunt on TMS: “It’s a shame we brought one of our best games today and not the other day, but hopefully we can still level the series. If it’s equal points, that’s a good finish and what we’re striving for now.

“We’ve had one day to turn it around and that included a six-hour coach journey, so we’ve done really well to pick ourselves up. It was really bitter the other day, we’re still feeling it and it still hurts. But we want to level the series and we’ll give it our all.”

Australia all-rounder Delissa Kimmince on TMS: “We lost too many wickets in clumps, Brunt bowled really well into the wicket and Gunn’s slower balls were hard to get onto – they had their field set right and we kept hitting to fielders.”

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