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Australia Women v New Zealand Women World T20 preview – Match 10

Bates's side came out ahead in the teams' most recent T20I series, but it will face its sternest test of the tournament yet

20 March 2016 16:44 By Snehal Pradhan, Nagpur

Australia Women v New Zealand Women World T20 preview – Match 10
 - Cricket News

New Zealand has had the better of the teams' T20 International encounters recently, beating Australia Women 2-1.

Australia Women and New Zealand Women will face off in the biggest encounter in Group A at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium at Jamtha on Monday (March 21). Both teams have made winning starts to their campaigns, and this clash between the heavyweights could decide who tops the group.

This match assumes significance in other aspects as well. Both teams will resume their trans-Tasman rivalry, albeit on neutral ground this time. New Zealand has had the better of the teams' T20 International encounters recently, beating Australia Women 2-1 in New Zealand, and Australia will be keen to avenge that series loss.

Besides, both teams are among the favourites to win the title; if their plans stay on track, they could meet again in the final and whoever wins on Monday will be keen to gain a psychological advantage.

It was perfect timing, then, for good news in the Australian camp. Meg Lanning, the captain, who missed part of the previous match against South Africa due to a stomach bug, is expected to be fit for the game, even though she skipped training at the Civil Lines stadium on the eve of the contest.

The Australians have been in Nagpur for four days now and spent their day off on Saturday playing some pool-volleyball. The New Zealanders meanwhile tried to shake off the fatigue of a long travel day – the music playing throughout their session might have helped – and focus on controlling the controllables.

Suzie Bates's side has been dominant in its games against Sri Lanka and Ireland so far. Bates and Sophie Devine were especially punishing on the Irish bowling. Morna Neilson and Leigh Kasperek, the spinners, are enjoying Indian conditions, while Devine is one wicket short of becoming the second player to score 1000 runs and take 50 wickets in T20Is. She will be keen to accomplish the feat against the Australians.

How the side deals with the pressure in its next game will be crucial. Bates insisted the team would take the contest as seriously as it approached the previous two games, no more, no less: “Every game is a knock-out game for us. If you want to leave this tournament winners, you have to win all six games.”

Australia comes into the encounter after a satisfying win against South Africa, who tested both its batting and bowling. The Southern Stars had to fight back after South Africa made good starts. It won the game by six wickets, with Lanning and Alex Blackwell guiding it home. Its pace bowlers too proved they can be effective on Indian wickets. Overall, Australia will be pleased by the response of the team under pressure.

Megan Schutt said the team was well prepared for the New Zealand challenge. “Suzie Bates has been in really good form, but we have our individual as well as team plans for her,” she said.

The two sides share a good camaraderie off the field, but Schutt reiterated that no quarter would be given during the game. “Once we cross that line, we really want to beat them.”

The six members of the White Ferns who were a part of the inaugural Women's Big Bash League in Australia would have got a close look at their opponents, many of whom they played alongside. The Australians will have the same advantage, having shared dressing rooms and game plans with the New Zealand players. As women’s cricket evolves into a more professional era, in which domestic T20 leagues will blur national boundaries, there are few secrets and fewer hiding places in international cricket. This is likely to make the encounter more competitive.

Teams (from):
Australia: Meg Lanning (capt), Alex Blackwell (vice-capt), Kristen Beams, Lauren Cheatle, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Nicola Carey, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani.
New Zealand: Suzie Bates (capt), Sophie Devine, Erin Bermingham, Leigh Kasperek, Felicity Leydon-Davis, Sara McGlashan, Katey Martin, Thamsyn Newton, Morna Nielsen, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest (wk), Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu.

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