AGENCIES

SYLHET-Meg Lanning produced the second-highest score in all Twenty20 international cricket to power Australia Women to an imposing 191 for 4 batting first, a total that proved way beyond Ireland Women. While Ireland’s batsmen hung in there, they could not go at the required pace, finishing 113 fro 7, 79 runs short of the target.

Lanning slammed 126 off 65 balls, which puts her second only to countryman Aaron Finch on the list of top T20 scores. She beat South Africa Women’s Shandre Fritz 116 to go top on the women’s charts, then went past Brendon McCullum’s 123 to go to No 2 overall; Finch had pummeled 156 against England last August. When it rains boundaries like it did, it’s easy to get immersed in the numbers, but it was hard to not notice the quality of strokes.

Australia’s innings was built around two main partnerships: first Lanning put on 86 in 10 overs with Delissa Kimmince, then she added 83 in just seven with Alex Blackwell. That Kimmince contributed 35 at a run a ball and Blackwell just 12 at a similar rate shows the dominance of Lanning. She hit 18 fours and four sixes in all, to ensure both her strike rate and the team’s total were nudging 200.

The pressure of a daunting total told on Ireland right at the start. Holly Ferling, who had been left out of Australia’s previous game, bowled flat out and kept a check on the runs. Her spell of 3-1-7-0 was an indication of the fire in her belly, while Ellyse Perry also returned to form by taking 2 for 17 off three overs.

Ireland also lost wickets to run-outs, with both Isobel Joyce, the captain, and Melissa Scott-Hayward, falling short while attempting tight second runs. With the top order gone, the chase became more of an exercise in damage limitation.

Against a rampant Australian team eager to overcome a summer of disappointment following its Ashes loss though, Ireland’s mistakes occupied only a small corner of the larger picture.

Brief Score: Australia Women 191 for 4 (Lanning 126) beat Ireland Women 113 for 7 (Perry 2-17) by 78 runs