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Aus vs Pak – WWC 2022 – Beth Mooney


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Australia brace for spin challenge as they make adjustments to their plans following India vs Pakistan fixture

Beth Mooney has admitted that Australia are wary of the challenge Pakistan’s spinners might pose for them on Tuesday on the used Bay Oval surface, where on Sunday, India collapsed after a strong start. To counter a potential spin-dominant ploy from Pakistan, Australia have had to tweak their plans “a little bit, slightly”, Mooney said.

“We obviously had the opportunity to play over here last year in a similar time, and we had three one-dayers at the Bay Oval here [against New Zealand] and played on the same wicket all three times,” Mooney said on match eve in Mount Maunganui. “And when we got to the third game, it had slowed up quite a lot. So using that intel that we had from last year when we played will become really handy for us as a batting unit and a bowling unit.

“So we expect that Pakistan’s bowlers… their spinners especially bowl quite differently to ours in terms of pace through the air. So we had a session today, specifically on that as a top six, and hopefully we can use that to our advantage tomorrow.”

Australia haven’t played Pakistan in ODIs since October 2018, and have only ever played 12 50-over games against them, winning each fixture. Mooney believes the lack of game time against Pakistan over the years could be a “blessing in disguise”, and said that watching the India vs Pakistan match, where spinners picked up five India wicket in the space of 12.1 overs, has helped Australia make adjustments to their plans.

“We watched a little bit of the game yesterday just to see what they were doing in terms of the bowlers. Our bowling unit watched a little bit of their batting as well,” said Mooney. “So I think it’s almost a blessing in disguise at times when we come up against an unknown opponent of sorts and obviously we played them a few years ago now. So that’s very different about that group.

“I thought they were outstanding with the ball yesterday and outstanding with the bat against India. So, yeah, it’s a different kind of challenge. But I think what we probably have focused on a little bit more in the last few months is worrying about what we can control and how we want to go about our game. So hopefully we can do that again tomorrow and adjust where we have to and adapt where we can.”

“Something that we pride ourselves on as a batting group is making sure we’re always moving the game forward and accessing different areas of the ground obviously to get the fields that we want. So just seeing a little bit of that in the game yesterday will be really important for us heading into tomorrow.”

Beth Mooney

Save for opener Alyssa Healy’s early dismissal, Australia, frontrunners for the title, showed no weaknesses with the bat in their high-scoring opening game against defending champions England. Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning’s record 196-run second-wicket stand meant Australia’s middle-order got time to bat only after the 42nd over. Even then, No. 4 Mooney, who made 27 not out, and No. 5 Ellyse Perry dug in as Australia powered to 310 for 3.

Mooney felt that despite the Pakistani spinners’ impressive performance against India, Australia would be able to replicate their batting dominance at Bay Oval, where the match will be played on the same strip that was used for the West Indies vs New Zealand and the India vs Pakistan games.

“Something that we pride ourselves on as a batting group is making sure we’re always moving the game forward and accessing different areas of the ground obviously to get the fields that we want,” Mooney said. “So just seeing a little bit of that in the game yesterday will be really important for us heading into tomorrow.”

In terms of team news, Ashleigh Gardner is serving a ten-day isolation in Christchurch after testing positive for Covid-19, and Heather Graham, who has played a solitary ODI, has been drafted in as a temporary replacement for Gardner. A Covid-19 replacement at the 2022 ODI World Cup can be temporary, in that once the player has recovered, she would be eligible to return to the squad in position of the travelling reserve that replaced her.

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha



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