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NATALIE SCIVER shone with bat and ball as England ended a disappointing Ashes summer with victory yesterday over Australia in the final Twenty20 at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.
Sciver claimed four for 15 as Australia posted 111 for nine — Anya Shrubsole having set the tone with four early wickets of her own — then posted the top score of the match with 47.
That guided England to a five-wicket win and the final points tally to 10-6 in the Southern Stars’s favour.
Captain Charlotte Edwards said: “We spoke about getting something from this last match and to beat the best team in the world is something we should be proud of but missing out on that run chase at Hove makes it doubly disappointing as a group.
“Ultimately Australia have been the better team but when we have played at our best we have matched them.”
The day began with Shrubsole dominating the Australian powerplay.
Her second delivery sneaked through the defences of captain Meg Lanning and clattered the stumps, while her fifth was mis-hit tamely to point by Elyse Villani.
Shrubsole also struck twice in her third over, Jess Cameron picking out Dani Wyatt at deep mid-wicket and Jess Jonassen seeing a leading edge
well held by a lunging Edwards.
By the time Shrubsole left the attack the tourists were struggling at 37 for four.
Alex Blackwell (24) and the in-form Ellyse Perry (16) steadied things somewhat but both fell to Sciver, varying things well to build pressure.
Grace Harris provided some big blows from number eight, hitting sixes in three successive overs, but when an ill-conceived flick carried straight to short fine-leg England the innings lost its legs.
Sarah Coyte gave Sciver two in two balls and Becky Grundy managed the same feat with the final two deliveries.
Australia, having defended 108 in the decisive match at Hove, made a strong start, Perry castling Wyatt in the first over and Rene Farrell adding the key scalps of Edwards and Sarah Taylor with just 22 on the board.
Sciver’s arrival slowed their charge as she did the bulk of the scoring in a 55-run stand with Katherine Brunt (17).
Sciver struck two boundaries and one clean six down the ground off Jonassen but was run out three short of a maiden half-century in the format.
That left Lydia Greenway to sweep the match-winning four, earning England a 2-1 victory in the T20 series to mitigate their Ashes loss.
Player of the match Sciver said after: “It is a shame that we didn’t come off with the bat in Hove and that will haunt us for a while. It’s hard to explain the poor batting, maybe there was a lack of concentration.
“We knew the task in hand and we knew that we were capable of performing and we showed that today, so it is just a shame that we couldn’t do it at Hove.”
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