Scorecard: Australia v Pakistan, first ODI
Jess Cameron and the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars have made light work of Pakistan in their opening one-day international in Redlands, with the world champions recording a comfortable four-wicket victory inside 37 overs.
Forced to kick off their series without the injured and recently engaged allrounder Ellyse Perry, the home side barely missed a trick, as Cameron’s 58 off 63 balls did the damage with the bat after Australia’s seamers had put in the hard yards early.
Quick Single: Perry engaged to rugby star
Miserly bowling and some superb individual efforts in the field limited Pakistan to 157 in good conditions for batting, with quicks Sarah Coyte, Julie Hunter and Rene Farrell all taking two wickets apiece.
Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen was also impressive, snaring two scalps of her own to spark a late-innings collapse.
Opting to bat first on a flat wicket, Pakistan looked at ease before Hunter struck, drawing a sliced drive from Sania Khan, which Coyte held well at point.
Hunter secured her second wicket in spectacular fashion, as Cameron held onto a superb one-handed catch in the slips to send Asmavia Iqbal on her way for 15.
"It was just reflex I guess," Cameron told cricket.com.au after the game.
"I think I was actually in the wrong spot.
"I was supposed to be in a bit of a wider gully and I sort of crept more towards Midge (wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy) and luckily I did.
"I'm not sure if the captain noticed."
Twin strikes from Megan Schutt and Coyte had the tourists reeling at 4-33 shortly after.
The middle overs proved far more of a grind for the Australian attack however, with Pakistan’s Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar putting on 89 for the fifth wicket.
"I think they’re a team that can do that," Cameron said of the gritty partnership.
"They've got some really good players in their side.
"We knew that there might be a partnership that could do that during the game and we just had to stick with it.
"They weren't scoring any dramatic runs so we knew the wicket was coming.
"We just wanted to keep them under four, maybe three, an over for a while there, just to see if something happened."
The sustained pressure eventually paid dividends for the world number one side, with Jonassen extracting some extra bounce out of the Redlands pitch to have Dar caught behind before a mistimed drive from Maroof gifted Alex Blackwell a simple catch and Coyte her second wicket.
A flurry of wickets saw Pakistan all-out, on the last ball of the 50th over, for 157.
With a meagre total to chase and plenty of firepower in the sheds, Nicole Bolton and Alyssa Healy started confidentially, the latter dismissed by a good piece of slip fielding for 6.
The run-rate skyrocketed following the arrival of captain Meg Lanning at the crease, the world's top ranked women's Twenty20 batter finding the rope, and clearing it, with regularity.
Despite losing Lanning for a run-a-ball 18, Bolton and Cameron were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
"We just wanted to start the series really positively," Cameron said.
"We didn't want to take the whole 50 overs to get the runs.
"I think that was a very clear (message) from Fitz (coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick) to the batting group; we wanted to stamp our authority on the series right from the start."
The 25-year-old definitely took her coach's words to heart, blasting six boundaries and one six in her match-winning knock.
Such was Cameron's command at the crease that when wickets started tumbling around her, and the Southern Stars needed just the one run for victory, she opted to finish with a bang.
"I don’t know if I was thinking to hit it for six," she said.
"I was just thinking, 'this is ridiculous'.
“We had a wicket and there was a bit of runout scare before that as well.
"When Coyte came out to the wicket I said, 'Look Coytey, if you don't get it this over we’re going to have to get it next over' and as we came down the wicket (at the end of the over) I said, 'Well thanks for leaving the responsibility to me'."
But that added pressure didn’t show, Cameron launching the first ball of the next over straight back over the bowler's head for the win.
The Southern Stars’ sights now turn to game two at the same venue on Saturday, with the opportunity to secure an unassailable two-nil series lead.
To follow all the action from the Southern Stars series against Pakistan, including every ball streamed live and exclusive, stay tuned to cricket.com.au.