Australia’s top batters have produced ominous displays ahead of this week’s T20I series opener against New Zealand, starring for their states in the Women’s National Cricket League.
In an incredibly even first round of the domestic 50-over competition, each of the seven teams notched a win across three days in Queensland and Western Australia.
Leading the way was Australia captain Meg Lanning, who posted a 108-ball 120no for Victoria as they claimed a seven-wicket win over South Australia.
Lanning shared a 234-run stand with international teammate Elyse Villani, who produced a century of her own in her second match back in Victorian colours.
On Sunday, it was Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry’s turn, with the trio scoring half-centuries against Tasmania.
With seven matches across three days, there’s a lot to take in, so here’s how every state – and the Australia T20I squad members, plus three New Zealanders – fared.
Victoria’s season opener against Western Australia didn’t produce their desired result, with the home team comfortably defending 270 to win by 46 runs. But young Australian allrounder Sophie Molineux was a highlight for the Victorians, taking 2-31 from nine overs with the ball before scoring 73 in the chase. New Australian leg-spinner Georgia Wareham also impressed, collecting 3-46, while Lanning was looking ominous before being dismissed for 37 (27).
It was a different story against South Australia on Saturday, however, with Lanning’s 120no and Villani’s 106 powering the Victorians to a seven-wicket victory. Molineux was again economical, finishing with figures of 0-36 from 10 overs.
The Breakers suffered a shock first-up loss, falling to Queensland by one wicket in a thriller. Rolled for 149 batting first, NSW looked on track to defend it with ease when a rampant Rene Farrell had Queensland in all sorts at 6-18. But a remarkable fightback from Sammy-Jo Johnson (67) and Josie Dooley (52no) was enough to see the Fire edge home.
Perry picked up 2-31 from her seven overs with the ball, while Healy and Nicola Carey were the top scorers for NSW, with 24 runs apiece.
On Sunday, the Breakers returned to the style of cricket that’s seen them dominate the WNCL for two decades. Haynes (89 off 86), Healy (85 off 75) and Perry (67 off 53) led their side to 5-344.
Perry then collected 3-25 from eight overs, and Carey collected 2-13 as Tasmania were dismissed for 158.
Queensland couldn’t have hoped for a better start to their campaign than to knock off the reigning champions. Impressively, it came without a significant contribution from star opener Beth Mooney, who was dismissed for five, while Australian allrounder Delissa Kimmince collected 2-43 from her seven overs.
But they wouldn’t back up their remarkable comeback win on Sunday, falling to ACT Meteors by four wickets. Mooney top-scored for the Fire with 47, but had little assistance as her team was bowled out for 184. Kimmince was economical with the ball, bowling 9.4 overs for 1-29.
A century to Tahlia McGrath helped South Australia post 6-251 against Victoria, the talented allrounder doing her chances of an ODI recall no harm after missing out on a spot in Australia’s T20 side. But the Scorpions then ran into a rampant Lanning and Villani, with Megan Schutt collecting just one wicket as the Victorians romped to a seven-wicket win.
Their fortunes changed on Sunday, however, with Schutt’s 3-39 pivotal as South Australia defended 8-254 to take the points off Western Australia. Amanda-Jade Wellington also impressed after being dropped from Australia’s T20 squad, picking up 3-43.
Western Australia drafted in star New Zealand allrounder Sophie Devine for their opening weekend of matches, with her big-hitting abilities quickly paying off when she struck a rapid 53 off 45 in their season opener against Victoria. Her efforts, combined with half-centuries to Heather Graham and former Hockeyroo Mathilda Carmichael, set up a match-winning total of 270. She then picked up two wickets – including the key scalp of Villani – as Victoria were bowled out for 224.
Devine couldn’t go as big second time around, dismissed for a 22-ball 26 against South Australia as the Fury were kept to 205.
With recalled White Fern Hayley Jensen in their line-up, ACT Meteors recovered from a first-up defeat to Tasmania with a four-wicket win over Queensland.
Jensen scored 5 and 10 across the two matches, while also picking up 3-54 in the second match.
Tasmania also fielded a New Zealander for the weekend in new White Ferns captain Amy Satterthwaite.
Tasmania snapped a 670-day losing streak when they defeated the Meteors by five wickets on Friday, courtesy of Corinne Hall’s brilliant 86 and Emma Thompson’s 60. Satterthwaite scored 10 and took 1-43 from 10 overs.
But they ran into a rampant NSW outfit on Sunday, going down by 186 runs. Satterthwaite top scored with 39 off 70, but came in for some punishment with the ball, her six overs doing for 56 runs.
CommBank T20 INTLs v NZ
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra