Germany’s Women took a 5-0 clean sweep against Austria in their T20I bilateral series at Seebarn, Vienna. The series marked the return of international women’s cricket, constituting the first matches since the conclusion of the T20 World Cup in March.
Germany came into the series ranked 27th on the T20I world rankings, last playing in a 4-0 series win over Oman in February. Austria, 50th, were last in action over a year previous, when they played a quadrangular series in France.
The German ‘Golden Eagles’ entered the series as strong favourites, and it was clear why from the first match. Batting first, Germany scored 165/2 in 20 overs, led by 72 from vice-captain Tina Gough and 40* from captain Anuradha Doddaballapur.
In reply, the hosts were bowled out for 83, led by a composed 35* by skipper Andrea Mae Zepeda. The Austrian wickets were shared between the German bowlers, with three wickets each for Emma Bargna and Asmita Kohli.
If the tourists didn’t quite hit their straps in Wednesday’s first game, they made sure they did on Thursday. Batting first in Thursday morning’s 2nd T20I, opening batter Janet Ronalds plundered Germany’s first T20I century.
Ronalds’ 105* from 74 balls was complemented by 66* from opening partner Gough, as the Golden Eagles ran up 191/0. The unbeaten 191-run partnership was the 4th highest in women’s T20I history. The total set the record for highest in a WT20I without the loss of a wicket.
Germany’s bowlers replied with equal ruthlessness. Led by Bargna, the 15-year old spinner took 5/9 in four overs to record Germany’s first-ever five-wicket haul in a T20 International.
Bargna was well backed up by Suzanne Brereton and Antionia Meyenbourg who both took two wickets apiece, the hosts were all out for 53, giving Germany a 138-run win and a 2-0 lead.
In Thursday afternoon’s third T20I, Austria batted first, but suffered a similar fate. Despite getting through six overs without the loss of a wicket, the hosts faltered.
Austria collapsed from 28/0 to 54 all out, including a hattrick for Anne Bierwisch, the first by a German bowler in T20Is. Rotating their batting line up, Doddaballapur and Sharanya Sadarangani completed the chase without the loss of a wicket.
Germany bettered just about every record or milestone they set on Thursday in Friday’s 4th T20I. Ronalds and Gough batted 20 overs together unbeaten for the second time. This time they raised 198/0, with Gough unbeaten with 101* and Ronalds 68*, eclipsing their record-breaking partnership from the day before.
Again, the tourists’ bowling would be too strong, as Austria battled to 61/9 in reply. Austrian captain Zepeda continued to lead the batting with 25, only to be run out off the last ball of the innings.
It would be her opposite number Doddaballapur who stole the show, taking four wickets in four balls. In doing so she became the first player to take four-in-four in a women’s T20I. Doddaballapur would finish her spell with 5/1 in three overs.
With the series wrapped up, the Golden Eagles would shuffle their batting order again for the final T20I. This time Austria would fair better, taking three wickets including two excellent catches from Zepeda and Tugce Kazanci.
Germany managed 129/3, with wicketkeeper Karthika Vijayaraghavan providing the top score of 36.
The hosts were conservative in reply, focusing on batting out the overs to finish at 50/8. Busra producing an assured 17, whilst Bierwisch lead the bowling with figures of 4/7.
Germany perform, Austria improve
The final tallies offered no surprises, Gough and Ronalds dominating the batting charts with 239 and 200 runs respectively across their 3 innings. Zepeda led the Austrian card with 77 in five innings.
Likewise, Bargna (10 wickets, ave. 3.7) and Doddaballapur (9 wickets, ave 3.7) topped the bowling averages. The 5-0 series result moves Germany up one place to 26th, whilst Austria slides from 50th to 53rd.
Overall, the tourists outclassed the hosts in all three departments. When the German bowlers bowled straight, they were deadly against a comparatively inexperienced Austrian batting line-up. Ronalds and Gough’s measured and attacking batting made sure that any bad balls were put away.
Further, well-practised fielding and Doddaballpur’s attacking captaincy made sure that fielders took their chances. As a result, the Golden Eagles have established themselves as one of the best women’s teams in Europe, but they will know they still have room for improvement to catch the likes of the Netherlands, Scotland and Ireland.
Despite the heavy defeats, Austria have positives to take away. Captain Zepeda led by example with the bat, defending good bowling with confidence and attacking the loose balls.
The Austrians’ fielding standards improved throughout the series, which finished with a pair of excellent catches in the fifth match. Match practice is the order of the day for Austria moving forward, but without a Women’s league in the country, it’s not clear where that will come from for the players.
Full Scorecards of each game are available at European Cricket
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