Aussie Osborne The Unsung Hero As Hosts Cling On

Aussie Osborne The Unsung Hero As Hosts Cling On

With the Women’s Ashes seemingly in England’s grasp, Raf Nicholson watched on in Hobart as, alongside Ellyse Perry, Erin Osborne helped pull off a remarkable turnaround to keep Australia in the hunt.


It is the 43rd over: Australia are 199-6, chasing 269. They require 70 runs off 36 balls. The required run rate is above eight-an-over as Erin Osborne joins Ellyse Perry at the crease.

The Ashes are England’s. Everyone – the BBC, the fans back home, the players, and me, up in the press box – is poised for an England series victory.

Anya Shrubsole’s over goes for eight runs; Natalie Sciver’s goes for 10. Chancey singles abound, and there is little skill required to hit boundaries on this kind of quick outfield. But suddenly, Australia need 52 to win off 36 balls.

This isn’t in the script. Okay, Perry is at the crease: the one woman superstar of the Test at Perth, with 102 runs and eight wickets. But Osborne is at the other end, and there is pressure; huge, enormous pressure. Lose this, and you lose the Ashes.

Osborne tonks two boundaries off Shrubsole’s next over. 11 runs off it.

Could it be…? No. No way.

Then Sciver’s next over goes for 12. Thirty-three off 24.

Still looks tricky.

Captain Charlotte Edwards changes tack. Cross and Gunn bowl the next two overs. Doesn’t work; they go for 12 and 10 respectively.

Eleven runs off 12 balls are required.

I can’t tell you what happens in the 49th over, because I can’t watch. I’m supposed to be reporting on this match, and I can’t watch.

When I open my eyes, it’s 263-6. Australia require six runs from six balls.

Sciver is bowling the 50th over. The first two balls are hit for singles. That’s okay… that’s okay. And Osborne is on strike. Perry is the danger-woman here, isn’t she?

But then Sciver bowls again, and Osborne strokes the ball through the slip region – but there are no slips. The England fielders are chasing the ball, and it may be a quick outfield, but the ball is travelling like it’s in slow motion. Finally, it trickles over the boundary rope.

They’ve done it. They’ve really done it. Seventy runs off 45 balls. A victory, with three balls to spare.

Osborne finishes on 40 not out, off 25 balls, including five boundaries. Her highest score in ODIs.

Can I breathe now?

Afterwards, Charlotte Edwards says: “Ellyse was the difference between the two teams.” It’s true that Perry made a fine 90 today; and undoubtedly much of the media storm surrounding this match will focus on her. But without Osborne at the other end, whacking the ball around the park as England’s bowlers looked on aghast, Australia would never have won this game.

Sometimes cricket is about the unsung heroes. Osborne is one of those.

Follow @AllOutCricket and @RafNicholson for coverage of the Women’s Ashes.

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