Today cricket match report: Schutt’s career-best move sets the stage for Australia’s sweeping victory

Australia 119 for 2 (Perry 57*) beat Pakistan 118 (Schutt 5-15) by eight wickets

Megan Schutt’s career-best T20I figures, and a crisp half-century from Ellyse Perry opening the batting, spearheaded Australia to a convincing eight-wicket victory in the opening T20I against Pakistan as they began the final build-up to their T20 World Cup title in South Africa last month.

Schutt became the fourth Australia bowler to take a five-wicket haul in T20Is and finished with their third-best figures behind Molly Strano (5 for 10) and current team-mate Jess Jonasssen (5 for 12).

A target of 119 was always unlikely to challenge Australia and they eased home with 38 balls to spare. Perry, who earlier claimed 2 for 3 from two overs, opening with captain Meg Lanning as Beth Mooney managed what was termed a “niggle” although she had been able to keep throughout Pakistan’s innings.

Lanning was beaten by an excellent arm ball from Sadia Iqbal but Perry, dropped on 3 when Iqbal missed a tough return catch, followed her rapid scoring in India – and prolific WNCL form – with a confident 57 off 40 balls which included a six pulled over wide mid-on against a free hit from Fatima Sana. Schutt’s first wicket came thanks to Mooney’s brilliant catch on the side of his foot to remove Bisma Maloof, but Australia needed DRS to make sure it touched the gauntlet Three balls later, Sadaf Shamas fired into the center as Pakistan lost their way after a promising start.

Shutto finished her first five-wicket move as she came back dead, covering Sanah, then leading top scorers Omaima Sohail and Tuba Hassan with later deliveries.

But the only standout moment in the Australian field performance was the amazing rebound Alana King got caught after a hard drive from Nidadar. Just before he could react, King held out her right hand and seemed surprised that she was holding it.

King’s numbers were only slightly dented in the final as Aisha Naseem launched an impressive counter-attacking third six, though King got her revenge.

Naseem’s 20-ball her innings was the highlight of Pakistan’s performance. She threw Talia McGrath with a long on into a fig tree and made a wild move from Darcy Brown onto the grass bank in the middle of the goal.

Brown had his day off, including back-to-back no-balls in the opening. Her 34, she admitted, were mostly in the early stages of her T20 career. A player at the other end of the experience spectrum, Perry started Australia’s wicket-taking with a fine yorker and eliminated Muniba Ali to finish a vibrant opening 27 with 4.2 overs.

In her next match, as Pakistan lost her 4-5, Perry added Javeria her Khan from the bottom end, but Annabelle Sutherland still needed her 7 options by running, who added her Khan. She was not asked to bowl again.

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