15/04/2024

Australian gun all-rounder Tahlia McGrath in action against the Irish (Picture: Oisin Keniry)

There is no bigger rise within the current landscape of cricket than that of Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath. She continued her stellar form from over the last 12 months to collect her four straight Player of the Match performance against Ireland.

There is no bigger rise within the current landscape of cricket than that of Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath. She continued her stellar form from over the last 12 months to collect her fourth straight Player of the Match performance against Ireland on Thursday.

From her debut in October 2021 in a T20 game against India to the most recent 63-run win on Thursday, McGrath has solidified her position in a stacked Australian line-up.

Against Ireland, she hit a match-winning 70 runs off 45 balls, which also marked the first time she had been dismissed in a T20 game from four matches. Her average in T20s is also unmatched within the women’s game currently sitting at 247 through her four innings with scores of 42 not out, 44 not out, 91 not out and 70.

She spoke after the match about the freedom she plays with and how she takes it all in her stride while keeping a modest outlook on her performance.

“I think the thing about the T20 format for me is I have so much freedom,” McGrath explained.

“When I come to the wicket, I’ve sort of been given a license to play my shots and I know if it doesn’t come off for me even then with the talent we’ve got coming in is enormous so it just gives me that much freedom and confidence when I’m at the crease.”

Following the tri-series against Ireland and Pakistan, the Australian Women’s Cricket Team will make their debut in Birmingham at the Commonwealth Games. McGrath is excited about the opportunity to play for a medal in the games considering she was not in the side 12 months ago.

“I just love playing for Australia, no matter where that is, no matter where I’m batting [or] what role I’m playing, I just love batting for Australia,” McGrath said.

“The fact that I’m playing in a Commonwealth Games is very, very cool and not something I thought I would get to do so I’m just riding the wave at the moment, just loving my cricket and hopefully have a gold medal soon.”

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After the loss of wickets of Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney, the Australian captain Meg Lanning came to the crease to steady the ship at 2-31. She combined with Tahlia McGrath at number four for a sensational 140-run partnership that won the Aussies the game in the first innings.

“I love batting with Meg [and] if there is one shot I’d steal off anyone it’s that flick off the legs for six from her, it’s incredible,” McGrath said.

McGrath spoke about Lanning’s influence on her as a teammate and how it is no surprise that they play so well together in the middle.

“I always feel so calm when I’m at the crease with her, she just makes things happen, the scoreboard is always ticking when I’m batting with her so it’s very nice,” she said.

“She’s really good, especially early on in my innings, she’s basically making me play straight, making me play to my strengths and working into my innings.

“She’s been really good from that point of view and she can sort of recognise when I’m getting a bit frustrated as well and come down and calm me down.”

The partnership between Lanning and McGrath was reminiscent of the match they played together in Adelaide against England in 2021. In the first T20 international of the series, the pair put on an unbeaten 144-run stand with Lanning not out for 64 to hush any doubts over her quiet WBBL form.

McGrath was immense that night, taking three wickets while scoring 75 runs with the bat. This occasion marked the first time this has been done in women’s cricket.

Australian captain Meg Lanning and Tahlia McGrath getting the job done against Ireland (Picture: Oisin Keniry)

Another highlight from the match was the 100th wicket of Australia’s star pace bowler Megan Schutt. A teammate of both Darcie Brown and McGrath at the South Australian Scorpions in the WNCL and the Adelaide Strikers in the WBBL, Schutt has been a stalwart of this Australian side for close to a decade.

McGrath spoke fondly about what Schutt does for the team behind the scenes and her standing within the game.

“We are pretty close, the SA crew cop a lot for all the time we hang out together but I’m sure she will let us all know that’s 100 wickets, she likes to brag about those sorts of things,” McGrath said.

“She’s massive [for the side] and she definitely flies under the radar.

“She’s a crucial part of our team and she’s really good as well at taking the new bowlers under her wing, helping them out. She has that kind of knowledge so while she breeds confidence she’s a very, very important part of this team.”

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