Alex Blackwell and Ash Gardner have propelled Australia to a stunning ODI win in the first game of the 2017 Ashes series.
A steady and controlled 67 not out from Blackwell combined with the power hitting of Gardner saw Australia chase down England’s 9-228 in the final over as the hosts took a two-point lead in the multi-format series.
After Australia won the toss and sent England in to bat, the visitors got off to a hot start with Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont putting on 47 for the first wicket.
All of the English top six were able to get a start as they built their innings nicely before a flurry of wickets late in the innings halted their progress towrds a big total.
Winfield top scored with 48 as Natalie Sciver chipped in with 36 in the middle order.
Australia’s chase got off to a rocky start as the wickets of opening pair Alyssa Healy and Nicole Bolton left the home side at 2-20 in the fifth over.
Ellyse Perry and Elyse Vilani steadied the ship along with Rachael Haynes before Blackwell came to the crease with the score at 4-87.
Haynes and Blackwell combined for a 63-run stand with the Aussies needing a run-a-ball from the final 10 overs to take out the opening game.
A quick-fire 27 off 18 balls from Gardner ensured Australia would start off on a winning note as the series moves to Coffs Harbour for the remaining two ODIs before the day-night Test commences.
Gardner claimed three wickets with the ball as she capped off a brilliant game however it was Blackwell’s match-winning knock that earned her player of the match honours.