After the Australian middle-order helped to post a total of 269 for New Zealand, it looked like it may not have been enough to challenge the Kiwi’s batting line-up. But the Australian bowlers showed that no matter their composition, their class and depth will still best teams.
This year in the lead-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup, the Australian Women’s Cricket Team have talked up their newfound variation within the team. This was being banded around as the main difference between their 2017 side that went out in the semi-final and the current one. It also means that teams will not be able to plan or anticipate bowling spells from Australia as they have in the past which makes them even more dangerous to face.
The game on Sunday against New Zealand was a testament to this theory with the introduction of a new bowling plan with the world’s number one ODI bowler leg-spinner Jess Jonassen being omitted from the side, with Meg Lanning explaining immediately after the game that they wanted the extra pace option in order to be aggressive upfront.
More Cricket News
Not only was this one stunning call made but it was followed during the beginning of the Australian bowling innings when the ball was not thrown for Megan Schutt to open. The number three ODI bowler quick Schutt was sensationally not introduced into the attack until the 17 over mark. She still produced the performance we have always expected of the world-class pacer with figures of 1/22 off six overs with the wicket of Hannah Rowe.
She was introduced into the attack when New Zealand was five wickets down and she was the fifth bowling option brought in. The sting had been taken out of the game for the Aussies with the dangerous top order consisting of Sophie Devine, Amelia Kerr, and Suzie Bates all out.
Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt have been a tried and tested combination for the Australian side for the last five years or more. During this game, it was Schutt’s Adelaide Strikers teammate young gun, Darcie Brown that was given the responsibility and she took the advantage with both hands. She collected the wickets of the trio of Bates, Amelia Kerr, and Frankie Mackay while only conceding 22 runs off her seven overs.
The player of the match, after her quickfire knock of 48 runs off just 18 balls, Ashleigh Gardner, spoke about the young star after the match and her impact on the team’s success.
“I’ve never seen Darcie bowl that well to be honest and to take three poles and three important wickets too, just shows where her game is at the moment,” she said.
“With the wind behind her she was probably 5kms quicker as well and it probably seemed too fast for them at some points.
“Setting the tone early and getting early wickets with this team is really key and obviously they are quite top-heavy with some really big names so to take some early wickets, two or three in the powerplay is, it’s pretty crucial.
After the omission of Jonassen and introduction of the Perry and Brown opening duo, it was also the faith shown in leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington that paid dividends.
She had an impressive performance in the match after being recalled into the playing XI last game with figures of 1/25 off her allotted eight overs.
Wellington backed this up with another great game on Saturday, she took the wickets of Katey Martin and Hayley Jensen to really put New Zealand out of the game.
With the use of Wellington, King, and Gardner in the spin bowling options, it was Alana King who also took a backseat during the match.
Before the game against New Zealand, she took five wickets in the opening two matches and was the leading wicket-taker. She was to be used as another bowling option if need be but the game was over in 30 overs.
Annabel Sutherland and Nicola Carey were omitted from the Australian team that took on Pakistan while Grace Harris waits as a bowling all-rounder option. This looms as a scary prospect for other teams within the tournament that this Australian team can take on a side like New Zealand with a new look bowling line-up and win while still having weapons not playing.
Gardner said this was their strategy, with a squad mentality in mind.
“I think where this team’s at, at the moment, there’s some fantastic players sitting on the sidelines that could fit into this team perfectly and can play a huge role,” she said.
“Being able to evolve as a team is a huge honour for us … we’re never happy with where we’re at and always striving to be better.” she continued.
Australia faces the West Indies next on Tuesday at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, looking to get their fourth win of the tournament.
Subscribe to our newsletter!