England keep Ashes hopes alive with T20 victory at the Oval

England keep Ashes hopes alive with T20 victory at the Oval

England kept alive their hopes of regaining the Ashes with a three-run victory in the second T20 international at the Kia Oval.

After falling 6-0 behind on points in the multi-format series following Saturday’s loss at Edgbaston, the hosts looked on the ropes when they suffered a collapse midway through the first innings, losing four wickets in 13 balls and handing the tourists the initiative as they sought the win that would ensure they kept hold of the Ashes.

But Danni Wyatt’s brilliant 76 from just 46 balls saw England roar back and set Australia a target of 187 which, despite a fast start with the bat and a spirited finish, proved beyond them.

Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry hit 37 and 51 respectively as the holders gave England a scare and Georgia Wareham put up a brave fight at the death with a flurry of big hits to offer hope.

But she was bowled superbly by Lauren Bell to dent Australia’s late charge and, despite two sixes from Perry in the final over, England won to keep the series alive ahead of the final T20 at Lord’s on Saturday.

England had begun confidently, losing only Sophia Dunkley in the first 11 overs to rack up a commanding score midway through the innings.

But they capitulated fast, going from 100 for one in the 12th over to 112 for five in the 14th as Australia hit them with a flurry of quick wickets.

First, Nat Sciver-Brunt was caught by Annabel Sutherland at long-on, the England vice-captain gone for 23, before Sutherland took over with the ball and dismissed Alice Capsey for five and Heather Knight for a duck off consecutive balls.

Bell claimed the key wicket of Wareham
Bell claimed the key wicket of Wareham (Steven Paston/PA)

From a position of strength, England suddenly looked vulnerable and soon Amy Jones had joined her captain back in the pavilion after she sought to chip Tahlia McGrath’s delivery to mid-wicket and was caught by Sutherland.

Late call-up Danielle Gibson fared little better as she was out for one but Wyatt marched on undeterred by the tumble of wickets around her as she led the revival late in the innings, as England took 25 off the 16th over to reach 150 for seven.

Wyatt’s innings was ended by Sutherland but Sarah Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone ensured England finished with a flourish – with Ecclestone smashing 22 from just 12 balls to help the hosts reach 186 for nine.

Australia set about their business with purpose, needing just over five overs to move onto 50 without loss with Healy and Beth Mooney putting up a strong opening partnership.

Healy’s departure for 37, bowled by Glenn, triggered a flurry of wickets as Charlie Dean recovered brilliantly from a dropped catch to run out McGrath.

Gibson took a first international wicket when Wyatt caught Mooney for 22, followed quickly by another as Ecclestone caught and bowled Ashleigh Gardner to leave Australia needing 112 off just over 10 overs.

The tourists had a required run rate of over 11 and their task was made harder still when Grace Harris was bowled by Dean to make it 96 for five.

Sutherland was next to go, caught by Knight at mid-off to leave Australia on the brink.

Perry ensured the tourists went down fighting with back-to-back sixes to finish, but England saw the win out to keep the series alive.