Commonwealth Games 2022
McGrath, Mooney star as Aussies sweep group stage
A dominant 141-run stand proved the difference against Pakistan as Australia made it three wins from three at the Comm Games
Laura Jolly at Edgbaston
3 August 2022, 11:04 PM AEST
Australia will head into the Commonwealth Games semi-finals with confidence after romping to a 44-run win over Pakistan at Edgbaston to secure top spot in their group.
Electing to bat first on a fine and sunny morning in Birmingham, Australia were in early trouble when Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning were both bowled cheaply to leave their side shaky at 2-19 after 5.2 overs.
But Beth Mooney (70no) and Tahlia McGrath (78no) then combined in an unbeaten 141-run stand, each posting half-centuries to lift Australia to a commanding 2-160 from 20 overs.
Megan Schutt and Darcie Brown struck early blows in reply, and while Fatima Sana provided some fireworks in a late cameo of 35 off 26, the target proved well beyond Pakistan as Australia restricted their rivals to 8-116.
Australia will now meet either England or New Zealand in Saturday’s semi-final for a spot in the gold medal match; both sides have also advanced to the knockout stage but will go head-to-head on Thursday evening to determine who claims top spot in Group B.
Healy (4) was dropped at slip on the fourth ball of the game but could not capitalise on the life, as an in-swinging delivery from Fatima caught her inside edge and rocketed into leg stump an over later.
Lanning (4) took seven balls to get off the mark, then scored just a single boundary before she too was bowled, this time by a superb delivery from left-arm spinner Sadia Iqbal that spun past the Australian skipper’s bat, catching the top of off stump.
McGrath had enjoyed few opportunities in the middle since arriving in the UK but quickly looked at home, steadying proceedings with Mooney to see Australia to 2-58 at the midway point of the innings.
She then hit the accelerator, bringing up her third fifty in just her sixth career T20I innings, from just 37 deliveries.
Mooney had endured a lean run since scoring 45no in her first innings in Ireland last month, posting scores of 9, 11no, 10 and 2 since, and while unconvincing early, battled her way through to form a crucial partnership with McGrath.
Her own half-century came off 42 balls before the left-hander finished with a flourish; she and McGrath adding 102 runs from the final 10 overs to steer Australia to 2-160.
McGrath finished unbeaten on 78 from just 51 deliveries, including 11 boundaries, alongside Mooney’s confidence boosting 70 not out from 49 balls.
Australia new-ball pair Schutt and Brown then gave their side a dream start with the ball, each striking in the first two overs.
Schutt had Muneeba Ali Siddiqui (0) caught at backward point with her third delivery, before Iram Javed (6) skied a shorter delivery from Brown nine balls later.
Omaima Sohail joined captain Bismah Maroof to add some much-needed impetus to Pakistan’s chase; the latter was gifted a life when Grace Harris put down a simple chance at mid-off, but their 36-run stand was broken just minutes later when Alana King entered the fray, bowling Omaima with her first ball of the match for a run-a-ball 23.
A mix-up and a powerful throw from McGrath on the boundary saw Aliya Riaz run out for one, and at 4-49 at the midway point of the innings the task was simply too big for a Pakistan batting line-up lacking the middle-order firepower of the Australians.
McGrath picked up three wickets, putting the icing on an outstanding all-round game.
2022 Commonwealth Games
Australia's squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan, Barbados
Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka
Semi-finals: August 6, 11am local (8pm AEST) and 6pm local (3am Aug 7 AEST)
Bronze medal match: August 7, 10am local (7pm AEST)
Gold medal match: August 7, 5pm local (2am Aug 8 AEST)
All matches played at Edgbaston Stadium