There's mutual respect on the field, says Erin Osborne, who played a crucial role in Australia Women’s semifinal win over West Indies Women
"She's one of the cleanest hitters of our game, so to get the catch in the end was particularly satisfying. Maybe if this was Sylhet, it would have landed beyond the ropes," laughed Osborne.
On the day, her off-spin also proved difficult to negotiate. "I thought going in to bowl, we thought maybe it was a bit under par because we were going for 150 to 160. Our bowling has had a tough time in the lead-up to this game, but it all came together today."
As much as her bowling came in for praise, it was Alyssa Healy’s unbeaten 21-ball 30 that allowed Australia to post a competitive target. "Her knock was absolutely crucial for us," Osborne said. "She was outstanding. Obviously, today, we felt she could play a role lower down the order and it worked perfectly for us."
If the opponents were to draw up a list of players to watch out for, it's unlikely Osborne would top the list. She's uncomplicated, goes about her work without too much fuss and flies under the radar of some of the more illustrious bowlers like Ellyse Perry. Yet, in terms of effectiveness, her value in this Australian team can’t be highlighted enough. She picked up two wickets apiece against South Africa and Ireland, while in the semifinal, she dismissed Kycia Knight, who put together a 43-run opening stand with Stafanie Taylor in West Indies’ chase of 141.
Osborne, who has become a regular in all formats of the game, highlighted the role played by Lisa Sthalekar, the former all-rounder, who is currently a part of the coaching set-up as a spin consultant. "I’m grateful to have her around," she said. "I’ve had my own battles leading up to the tournament, to have her and go through everything has definitely helped me and the team. The batters too have benefitted from facing her in the nets."
The Australia men’s team hasn’t quite got the better of its exchanges with the West Indies, either on or off the field in the ICC World Twenty20 2014. Osborne was asked if the intensity between the teams in women’s cricket was as much. Her comment that she doesn't like to sledge, particularly if the opponents are West Indies, left everyone chuckling. It's perhaps a sign of maturity that stems from experience, for she knew messing with the opponents ahead of a big game wasn't the best tactic. "I think the last time we played them, we found out the hard way against Merissa (Aguilleira)," she laughed, when reminded of the James Faulker and Darren Sammy battle.
"We watched that game (between the men’s sides) and were intrigued, and it came up for discussion when we caught up with the guys a few nights ago. But on a serious note, that didn't have a bearing on today's game because we knew they have quality players who can just take the game away from you. There's mutual respect on the field, personally I’m not one to sledge, it’s not a very good idea."