Saturday, October 1, 2022

Aussies eye return to World Cup semis

Australia’s in-form women cricketers will confront the last team to beat them at a World Cup on Saturday, insisting all eyes are on this clash rather than the past.

Meg Lanning’s side take on India at Auckland’s Eden Park knowing a win will secure a semi-final place in New Zealand.

Five years ago at the same phase, India upended world cricket’s established order with a mighty 36-run victory over the Australians.

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Harmanpreet Kaur struck an unbeaten 171 as India roared to 281 off their 42 overs, with Australia, the world No.1s and hot favourites, battling to 245 all out in response.

It’s a match seared into the Australian consciousness, prompting a major rethink of the team’s attitude and approach at a now infamous team retreat.

Coach Matthew Mott said he was confident those memories wouldn’t resurface as Australia resumed World Cup competition with the Indians.

“It’s a non-event internally,” he said.

“Literally, the last thing on our mind at the moment is what happened five years ago.”

While he wasn’t keen to rewind the clock, Mott didn’t mind raising the stakes 24 hours out from the match.

“We’ve done a lot of research on them and we match up well against them,” he said.

“We had an excellent net session and have some players in form. We’re looking forward to taking them on.”

Mott’s confidence comes from Australia’s performance so far in New Zealand; consecutive wins over England, Pakistan, New Zealand and West Indies.

India, by contrast, is on a rollercoaster with a big win over Pakistan followed by a comprehensive loss to the hosts.

Any morale-boost from their next-up 155-run win over West Indies possibly evaporated when winless England kept them to just 134 before chasing down the target with ease.

Mott said there wasn’t much to be gained from the England template given the difference between the outfits.

“We’ll just stick to our strengths as a bowling group, and (give) clarity for each bowler on how they execute their best skills.”

The match is paired with the White Ferns’ clash against England as part of a blockbuster weekend’s action at Eden Park, New Zealand’s biggest sporting venue.

The groundstaff have produced a “fast bouncy wicket” according to Mott, giving license to the pace attack to crack in.

“We will certainly be encouraging everyone to be aggressive at the start. We want to take early wickets,” he said.

With Ash Gardner showing form after her COVID-19 isolation, Tahlia McGrath able to play through heel soreness and Darcie Brown rested from the West Indies win, Australia have a full deck to chose from.

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Nation World News Desk
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