Beth Mooney spent Saturday afternoon smashing Pakistan’s bowlers to all parts of North Sydney Oval, only shifting into full defence mode when asked if she was the best batter in the world.
It’s an easy case to mount given Mooney boasts the fifth-best batting average in women’s ODI cricket (52.45) while she’s also the leading run-scorer in WBBL history.
The left-hander is ranked fourth on the ICC ODI batter rankings, and is second on the T20 list, behind teammate Tahlia McGrath.
Mooney herself said she could list 10 better batters than her, but skipper Meg Lanning disagrees after sharing a 160-run partnership on Saturday as Mooney smashed her third century and her highest ODI score.
It continues an incredible few years for Mooney who has shifted to the top of the order following Rachael Haynes’ retirement and looks set to be a key cog in all formats as Australia attempts to retain the T20 World Cup next month and the Ashes later in the year.
“I think she’d have to be very close,” Lanning replied when asked if Mooney was the best batter in women’s cricket.
“I don’t think it matters what format or what position she plays in because she seems to be able to go out there and dominate and perform consistently.
“That’s the difference between her and other players in the world – she does it game after game. Even the other day she sort of struggled a bit early, but she was able to get through that tricky period and accelerate from there.
“We’re very lucky to have her in our side because she’s someone we can rely on in big games. I’m sure we’ll see a big T20 series from her and then onto the World Cup.”
Australia hasn’t settled on its final squad for Tuesday’s first T20 match against Pakistan at North Sydney Oval, but it looks like Lanning could move to the top of the order to partner Mooney.
Regular opener Alyssa Healy remains sidelined with a calf injury but is tracking well to return for next month’s World Cup, with the skipper ready to rip in for what will be her first T20 appearance since the Commonwealth Games gold medal match.
Lanning is coming off scores of 67 and 72 in her first international matches since returning from her break from cricket, and she’s looking forward to a rare return to the top with the middle-order desperate for some time in the middle after the top three did most of the damage in the ODI series.
“It looks like that might happen. That’s a good opportunity for me, but also for some other batters to move up the order,” she replied when asked about her role at the top.
“With Midge (Healy) out – she’ll obviously come back for the World Cup – but it does provide opportunities for people to come in and play a different role.
“It’s going to be very difficult to make a decision on the final XI in every game moving forward from here. A lot of it will come down to match-ups and who we’re coming up against and what we feel like is the best method.
“I feel like we’ve got such great options and depth in all the different areas, so it’s a good option to have.”