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Women’s World Cup 2022 – Alyssa Healy


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The wicketkeeper-batter says Australia will not rest players just because they have sealed their semi-final slot

In an ominous warning to those hoping to stop Australia at the World Cup, Alyssa Healy believes the fact that their performance against India was not without its faults is a good sign after they became the first team to confirm their semi-final slot.

Australia chased down 278 with three balls to spare at Eden Park with the finish becoming a little tighter than appeared likely, with eight needed off the final over, but Beth Mooney ensured against any drama. They had been wayward with the ball, giving away 24 runs in wides and Harmanpreet Kaur a life on 33 but even then the eventual total, which meant Australia needed the third-highest successful chase in ODIs, did not daunt them.

“It’s something that we pride ourselves on in this group, that ability to potentially win a game from anywhere and any situation,” Healy said. “When our backs are against the wall, we fight our way out of that and that’s exactly what you need in ODI cricket, exactly what you need in World Cup cricket.

“You just need to find a way to win games. The first half of our game yesterday wasn’t perfect, [it] wasn’t disastrous, I thought potentially they could have put 300 on us – if we had been batting first we would have looked at that score knowing how good the wicket was – so it wasn’t perfect, which is probably a good thing. You don’t want to be playing your perfect cricket now. Just to be able to get the win the way we did was pleasing.”

Healy played the key role in laying the platform for the chase with a crunching 72 off 65 balls and even when she and Rachael Haynes fell in consecutive overs after adding 121, it barely knocked Australia off course. Meg Lanning highlighted the majority of what was to come with 97 and Mooney, as she so often does, iced the game with 30 off 20 balls after Ellyse Perry had laboured somewhat in making 28 off 51 balls. It was the latest example of the formidable nature of the Australia batting order with Ashleigh Gardner unused at No. 7.

“Having that confidence in what those top seven batters can do is really a free license for the rest of us to play the way we do,” Healy said. “We know that if we all come off on one day, it will be a ridiculous score and if we don’t come off, there are six other players who can come off. We know someone has our back if it doesn’t work, but if it does…we just keep going.”

Australia have used 14 of their 15-player squad during their first five matches (Heather Graham was briefly added as a replacement) coping seamlessly with Gardner’s delayed entry into the tournament due to Covid-19. They have also been able to carefully manage the workload of quick Darcie Brown who again proved a point of difference against India with 3 for 30.

“That’s probably been the most pleasing thing for me,” Healy said. “We haven’t had to rely solely on one batter or one bowler that’s been doing the heavy lifting. It has been a genuine team effort, and think coming into finals play, it’s going to be crucial that everyone is firing, feeling good about themselves and their cricket and this team is in a really good place in that regard.”

While Australia can now have their eyes on that semi-final – “to do it this early is a nice feeling to have,” Healy said – they have their focus firmly on the next match against fellow unbeaten team South Africa in what has the makings of another fantastic contest.

“They’ve played some really cricket and knocked off some big teams in this tournament, no doubt they’ll be looking to do the same for us and have their sights set on finishing first,” Healy said. “I hope we don’t take the foot off the pedal, we may as well maintain the momentum while we’ve got it. I would imagine we wouldn’t be looking to rest people purely because we have two games in hand. That’s not the way we look at our cricket.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo



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