Phoebe Litchfield shines on debut as Australia take lead

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Litchfield remained unbeaten on 78 in the chase. © Getty

Veteran Meg Lanning and debutant Phoebe Litchfield twinned in a sensational century stand to drive Australia to an eight-wicket win in the rain-affected opening ODI in Brisbane.

Captain Lanning, who was making a comeback after her six-month break, struck 67 off 76 whereas 19-year-old Litchfield, making her ODI debut, scored 78* off 92 as the duo added 137 runs for the second wicket and set the stage up for an easy win. Both batters hit 9 fours, with Litchfield also chipping in with a six, as Australia tracked down the revised target of 158 in only 28.5 overs.

The game was reduced to 40 overs each after rain first delayed the start and then interrupted. Pakistan, put in to bat first, lost openers Muneeba Ali and Sidra Ameen early to Darcie Brown’s pace with only 19 on the board. Tahlia McGrath’s strike of Omaima Sohail then made a bad start worse as Pakistan found themselves wobbling at 38/3 inside the ninth over.

Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar then added 46 runs for the fourth wicket to render some sort of stability to the innings but the captain’s dismissal once again put paid to that. Maroof was strangled down the leg side by Ashleigh Gardner but Dar stayed put in her 88-ball 59, also the top score of the innings as Pakistan scrambled to 160/8 in their 40 overs.

Pakistan needed a big effort with the ball and Diana Baig provided the initial push with the wicket of Beth Mooney, but Litchfield and Lanning, who was dropped on six, then raced through the tracks as the visitors looked short of ideas. En route, Lanning crossed 4,500 one-day runs while Litchfield got to a half-century on debut. Omaima Sohail managed to account for Lanning but Litchfield saw through the chase and created quite an impression in her maiden one-day outing.

Brief Scores: Pakistan Women 160/8 in 40 overs (Dar 59; Brown 2-21, Jonassen 2-23) lost to Australia Women 158/2 in 28.5 overs (Litchfield 78*, Lanning 67; Baig 1-21) by 8 wickets (DLS)

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