London: England beat Australia by five wickets via DLS method in a rain-affected third and final T20I to win the series 2-1 at Lord’s and keep their slim hopes of winning the multi-format Women’s Ashes 2023 alive, here on late Saturday night.
Teenager Alice Capsey (46 off 24) combined with vice-captain Natalie Sciver-Brunt (25 off 25) to steer England to a revised target of 119 off 14 overs with four balls to spare and with five wickets in hand in front of yet another record-breaking crowd in London.
Late wickets helped Australia push England’s chase into the final over; with just two runs to defend, Jess Jonassen trapped Heather Knight lbw first ball, but Dani Gibson iced victory next delivery with a reserve sweep for four.
With this, England inflicted World Champions Australia’s first bilateral series defeat in the format since 2017.
Following the end of T20I series, Australia lead the multi-format series 6-4 following victories in the one-off Test and first T20I and require just one win during the three ODIs to retain the Ashes.
On the other hand, England will need to win all three ODIs to claim the Ashes and their task will be difficult given Australia currently holds a 15-match winning streak in the format and are the reigning ICC Women’s World Cup champions after they claimed a seventh crown in New Zealand last year.
Earlier, Australia compiled a good total of 155/7 on the back of decent knocks from experienced trio Ellyse Perry (34), Beth Mooney (32) and Ashleigh Gardner (32).
Chasing a challenging total, Danni Wyatt (26 off 15) gave England a flying start, hitting six boundaries in the four-over powerplay, but Megan Schutt struck back to have the England opener caught behind.
Darcie Brown had Sophia Dunkley (9) out top-edging an attempted pull shot a ball later, leaving England 2-39 in the fifth.
Capsey ignited the crowd when she hit a massive six off Jess Jonassen. She got a reprieve on 22 when Georgia Wareham put down a difficult chance running in off the rope and capitalised, while Sciver-Brunt was content to keep the scoreboard ticking as her younger counterpart took up the attack to Australia.
The 18-year-old hit a second maximum into the stands but fell just short of a half-century when she holed out the following ball. But when she departed England needed just 12 runs off 15 balls and the rest of England batters did the job.
Sent into bat with rain threatening, Alyssa Healy provided early excitement with a trio of boundaries off Charlie Dean and Sciver-Brunt and was given a life when the former put down a return catch with the Australian captain on 13. But Dean made amends with her next over, trapping Healy lbw for 16.
England kept Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath well contained as Australia reached 36/1 at the end of the powerplay, and the mounting pressure paid off when McGrath looked to hit Danielle Gibson over mid-off but only managed to pick out Capsey, out for 10 off 13.
Mooney looked to escalate against the spin of Sarah Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone, hitting a quartet of boundaries. But she came unstuck trying to lap Sciver-Brunt an over later, bowled for 32 off 27 as Australia reached 66/3 at the midway point of their innings.
Needing to escalate, Ashleigh Gardner cleared the boundary and was then given a life on 29 when dropped in the deep, but only added another three to her total before she was caught behind advancing on a Sciver-Brunt short ball.
Perry saw Australia past the 100-mark in the 15th over and after a brief rain delay, the allrounder launched, smacking Gibson over the rope first ball after the resumption then flaying Sciver-Brunt for a trio of fours in the 18th.
Her onslaught came to an abrupt end when she was given out lbw to Lauren Bell’s first ball of the 19th. Perry tried to send it upstairs but was unable to, with the Decision Review System malfunctioning — however, replays suggested her review would have been unsuccessful.
Harris then chipped in with three late boundaries as she scrambled her way to 25 before being run out off the final ball of the innings.
Australia and England now head to Bristol for the first of three sold-out one-dayers, which begins on Wednesday.
Brief scores: Australia 155/7 in 20 overs (Ellyse Perry 34, Ash Gardner 32; Nat Sciver-Brunt 2-31) lost to England 121/5 in 13.2 overs (Alice Capsey 46, Danielle Wyatt 26; Megan Schutt 2-35) by 5 wickets (DLS method).