Lydia Greenway was England’s heroine as the women’s team made it an Ashes double with a five-wicket win over Australia in the second Twenty20 international at Southampton on Thursday.
Greenway produced a superbly composed innings of 80 not out – an England women’s record for a Twenty20 international – from just 64 balls faced as her side, chasing 127 for victory, won with an over to spare.
Her composed innings was all the more impressive as England had collapsed to nine for three.
But a partnership of 67 between Greenway, who should have been stumped on 10 by Australia skipper and wicketkeeper Jodie Fields, and England captain Charlotte Edwards revived the reply.
This victory – England’s fourth of the series – came four days after the England men’s team completed a 3-0 Ashes Test series win over Australia at The Oval in south London.
But, unlike the men’s Ashes, the women’s series was a multi-format contest with points awarded for each win.
Greenway hit the winning runs to give England an unassailable 10-4 lead ahead of Saturday’s Twenty20 international in Durham after the lone Test was drawn and Australia won the opening one-day international.
A notable feature of Greenway’s innings, which included 11 fours, was her use of the reverse-sweep.
“I’m so pleased we won today,” Greenway told Sky Sports.
“We still have another match to go but we are relieved we haven’t left it until then to win the Ashes. There were a lot of gaps in the field and I backed myself to find them with the reverse sweeps and paddles.”
Meanwhile a delighted Edwards added: “It was nerve-wracking but what an innings from Lydia.
“I can’t describe how proud I am but we had a tough winter,” said Edwards, whose side lost to Australia in last year’s World Twenty20 final in Sri Lanka.
“To come back in this manner is great.”
Australia’s total owed much to Meg Lanning’s 53-ball 60, with the opener going to her fifty when he hoisted seamer Jenny Gunn for six.
However, Lanning’s was unluckily run out at the non-striker’s end after Holly Colvin deflected Alex Blackwell’s drive onto the stumps.
Australia’s innings lost impetus late on, with England taking three wickets in three balls.
Blackwell was caught in the deep off Danielle Hazell before Fields was run out and Hazell had Erin Osborne lbw for a duck.