Australian opening batter Alyssa Healy said Australia had adapted well to “low and slow” conditions after they scored a commanding 10-wicket win over previously unbeaten Sri Lanka in their Women’s T20 World Cup match at St George’s Park in Gqeberha on Thursday. The win virtually assured Australia of a place in the semi-finals with three wins out of three, but there’s still a possibility of a three-way tie in Group One. Australia’s last group match is against South Africa at the same ground on Saturday night.
Healy said conditions on Saturday could be very different as she believed a fast, grassy pitch was being prepared to suit South Africa’s fast bowlers. “We just try to adapt to the conditions we get,” she said.
“We’ve seen that green seamer lingering out there for Saturday night so it should be a good showdown for the quicks.” If South Africa win their last two matches and Sri Lanka recover from Thursday’s mauling to defeat New Zealand in their final game three teams would have the same number of points.
Defending champions Australia, though, have an advantage on net run rate. Sri Lanka were restricted to 112 for eight on Thursday after being sent in to bat in overcast conditions.
It never looked nearly enough as Healy (54 not out) and Beth Mooney (56 not out) scored freely from the start of the Australian innings.
Grace Harris and Megan Schutt were mainly responsible for Sri Lanka’s moderate batting performance, although all Australia’s bowlers were economical on a slow pitch. Harris ran from mid-on and took a diving catch off Ellyse Perry to end an aggressive innings by Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu (16) to effect Australia’s first breakthrough with the total on 30.
Sri Lanka scored 50 in the first seven overs but became becalmed against Australia’s slow bowlers. Harris took two wickets in an over with her off-spinners to reduce Sri Lanka to 69 for three as they added only another 19 runs in the seven overs.
Schutt took four wickets in her last two overs, while wicketkeeper Healy made three stumpings. Healy and Mooney were seldom troubled as they scored at well above the required run rate.
Healy frequently used her feet to Sri Lanka’s assortment of spin bowlers and hit six fours and a six off 43 balls, while the left-handed Mooney ended a poor start to her tournament with good timing and placement in striking seven boundaries off 53 deliveries.
Mooney was out for nought in a warm-up match against Ireland and made nought and two in her first two innings in the tournament. Athapaththu said Sri Lanka were not disheartened by the result.
“They (Australia) are a world-class team and world champions. We are a young team. If we play our best cricket we can beat New Zealand and play in the semi-finals,” she insisted. If Australia beat South Africa, a win against New Zealand on Sunday would guarantee a semi-final place for Sri Lanka.
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