SYDNEY – Cricket Australia’s world champion women’s team saw off New Zealand on Saturday in the first international cricket game to be played in either country since March.
Australia won their first Twenty20 international in almost seven months by 17 runs at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.
Ashleigh Gardner anchored Australia’s innings of 138-6 with a superb 61 from 41 balls on the two-paced pitch that proved hard to score from before Megan Schutt took 4-23 to restrict New Zealand to 121-7.
The match represented a significant moment for cricket in Australasia in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both teams have been in isolation for at least the last two weeks in biosecure hubs, with all other international teams likely to follow suit over the southern hemisphere summer.
New Zealand Cricket have said they spoke extensively with CA over their biosecurity measures, with their own plans for their international programme being approved by the New Zealand government on Friday.
CA, however, have not confirmed the rest of their fixtures for their international programme, which includes a men’s four-test series against India. They postponed a one-off test with Afghanistan and a men’s one-day series with New Zealand on Friday.
The delay in finalising the schedule has provoked a bitter public dispute with Channel Seven.
The broadcaster has threatened to tear up its 2018 contract, complaining that coronavirus restrictions on travel will dilute the competitiveness of games, especially in the Twenty20 Big Bash League.
Seven and pay television company Foxtel agreed a six-year broadcasting rights agreement worth A$1.2 billion ($880 million) with CA in 2018. Seven’s share of the agreement was worth about A$450m.