Captain Matt Dean led from the front with a man-of-the-match display as England Visually Impaired beat hosts Australia by six wickets in the opening ODI in Adelaide.
England won the toss and sent Australia in to bat in the overcast conditions. The ground remained a little damp from the inclement weather of the previous day, which slowed up the outfield for the home side.
Wickets fell quickly thanks to some great bowling from the England attack, along with some outstanding fielding, which left Australia struggling on 70 for seven off only 13 overs.
However, Ray Moxly and Daniel Pritchard’s ninth-wicket partnership produced a much-needed 150 to steady the ship and Australia ended their innings on 285 for eight.
England’s Justin Hollingsworth was threatening with every delivery and the 19-year-old was the standout of the bowling unit, taking two critical wickets.
Hollingsworth and Dean opened the batting for England with an impressive stand of 175 off 25.4 overs to put England in a strong position before Hollingsworth’s lbw dismissal for 76.
T20 captain Luke Sugg came into to build the chase with Dean after Pete Blueitt was run out for two.
Needing 20 off the last four overs to seal the win, Sugg and Dean put on a 107-partnership to secure the result in the 38th over, with Dean hitting the winning runs and carrying his bat on 96.
Reflecting on the match, Dean said: “Obviously it is always pleasing to have a man-of-the-match performance to help your team win, but today was a real team effort.
“Everyone was involved in the field to make sure Australia only scored 285 and we gave a very mature performance chasing down that total.”
The captain was philosophical about his almost-century: “I never worry about my score, I just bat for the team and was more worried about making sure we got over the line.
“I was happy I managed to carry my bat and am now looking forward to the next game tomorrow.”
England Visually Impaired team
Matt Dean (captain)