Australia Women 24

Australia achieved a resounding eight-wicket victory over South Africa in the opening match of the three-game ODI series, with Megan Schutt delivering a standout performance in her 200th international appearance.

Opting to bowl first, Schutt’s extraordinary spell of 1-1 in five consecutive overs limited South Africa to a meager total of 105 at Adelaide Oval. Marizanne Kapp, the top-scorer with 50, was unfortunate to retire hurt after being struck on her left elbow while completing a second run for her half-century. However, subsequent scans revealed no fracture, indicating a soft tissue injury.

Schutt’s 261st international wicket included the crucial dismissal of South African captain Laura Wolvaardt, who gifted her wicket by slicing a short and wide delivery to point. South Africa struggled from the outset, slumping to 9 for 3 after eight overs and never fully recovering. Kapp’s valiant innings came to an end, and in her absence, the tourists lost their last four wickets for just 11 runs.

In the run chase, Australia faced early setbacks with openers Phoebe Litchfield and Alyssa Healy being dismissed within nine overs. However, Beth Mooney’s unbeaten 52, featuring nine boundaries in a 34-ball innings, guided Australia to victory alongside Ellyse Perry.

Mooney’s performance was praised by her teammates, emphasizing the significance of finishing games well, particularly in smaller run chases. The win not only secured a 6-2 lead for Australia in the multi-format contest but also showcased Schutt’s exceptional bowling, leaving a significant impact on the match.

The series continues with the second and third ODIs scheduled at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday and Saturday.