Women’s international cricket returned this past week for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic brought a halt to it shortly after the T20 World Cup Final in Australia back in March. The location wasn’t too far away from Australia in terms of spelling, but a world away from the MCG in terms of setting.

The first T20Is (male or female) in Austria were held at the sparse Seebarn Cricket Centre north of Vienna, and saw the hosts take on Germany in a five match series. The Germans are widely regarded as the top European associate in women’s cricket behind the “big two” of Scotland and the Netherlands, so it was always going to be a tough contest for the relatively inexperienced Austrians.

Germany showed no mercy to a country that often measures itself against them in many sports, putting in a dominating performance that saw them set a slew of records.

In the first match on Wednesday, Christina Gough hit 72, the highest score for Germany in T20Is, as the visitors recorded an 82 run win.

Her record didn’t last long though as the next day opening partner Janet Ronalds got Germany’s first T20I century with 105 as the pair took their team to 191-0, the highest T20I total with no wickets lost.

It was also the fourth biggest partnership in women’s T20Is. Emma Bargna – at just 15 years old – then recorded Germany’s first five wicket haul in T20Is with 5-9 as Austria were bowled out for 53, losing by 138 runs.

In the third T20I – and the second played on Thursday – Austria batted first and were bowled out for 54, during which Anne Bierwisch took Germany’s first T20I hat-trick. Germany then knocked off the required runs in 8.1 overs for a 10 wicket win.

On Friday, Gough and Ronalds broke their own records with an unbeaten opening partnership of 198. Gough was the centurion this time with 101. Germany captain Anuradha Doddaballapur was the star of the show though, becoming the first bowler to take four wickets in four balls in women’s T20Is on her way to taking five wickets for just one run, the best bowling performance by a captain (male or female) in T20Is. Austria were bowled out for 61, losing by 137 runs.

The final match early on Saturday morning saw Germany take their foot off the gas just a little as they mixed up their batting order, with neither Gough nor Ronalds batting. They scored 129-3 and then bowled Austria out for 50 to win by 79 runs and complete a 5-0 series whitewash.

Whilst Germany will have enjoyed their moment in the spotlight, the series was a steep learning curve for the Austrians, who struggled at times with their bowling lines and were rather sloppy in the field, making some basic errors. They now know where they need to improve if they are to compete against the better teams in Europe, and will no doubt have learnt from the experience.