T20 World Cup: Opposition can’t stop star-filled Australian team

Before her matchwinning half-century to book Australia’s T20 World Cup semi-final spot in South Africa, Tahlia McGrath, the No.1 batter in the world, had only had one innings in the tournament.

Picked for her power hitting, middle-order slugger Grace Harris has also had just two hits, facing only seven balls, as the defending champions romped through the group stages with four straight wins.

Even Ellyse Perry only batted twice and the undefeated run came despite Beth Mooney starting the tournament with scores of zero and two.

Those dominant victories have also come with first-choice leg-spinner Alana King not taking a single wicket, upstaged by comeback kid Georgia Wareham.

That Australia could cruise to an unbeaten run, securing a semi-final showdown, most likely with India this Friday, having hardly got into a gallop says much about the strength of the reigning champions, who are going for a third-straight T20 title.

It’s a fact not lost on McGrath, who was a “specialist fielder” until it was her turn to stand up. That’s the mentality driving the world champs towards another title. Stand up when it’s your turn.

“I‘ve been a specialist fielder the last couple of games, but this is my first T20 World Cup. I’m loving it,” she said.

“I love every chance I get to put on an Aussie shirt. So, I knew I was going to have an opportunity where the team needed me and I had to be ready. So, I’ve been loving watching.

“We’ve all been doing so well with the bat, with the ball. And I knew that when I had my opportunity, I needed to be ready.

“That’s the biggest strength of our squad is how much depth we have.”

But while Australia has dominated, the champs are yet to face England and India, their greatest rivals for the title.

Australia will head from Port Elizabeth back to Cape Town for the semi-finals this weekend intent to use the extra time to “explore what South Africa has to offer”.

“And then the business end of the competition,” McGrath said.

“We’re playing some really good cricket, but four wins means nothing when you get to knockout finals.”

Opening bowler Megan Schutt, who has a team-high eight wickets, said it was time for the team to “click” with the end goal now in sight.

“Going through the rounds undefeated is really cool, it‘s something we’ve not done in a little while in a T20 World Cup,” Schutt said.

“I think our cricket is finally starting to click a little bit in all three facets, so that’s pretty nice heading into the semis.

“There’s some games that we’ve kind of cruised through, there’s no doubt about that, but that’s what we train hard for.

“I think the fact we haven‘t had an absolute test isn’t really too much of a concern. We know we can hold ourselves in good stead when we come to the competition.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *