Megan Schutt, the Australian pacer, is hoping for a rare series whitewash against New Zealand and getting the right momentum for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2018.
There will be three one-day internationals coming up later, and they will be crucial from the point of view of the ICC Women’s Championship, but it’s the Twenty20 Internationals right now, and they are not any less significant.
The World T20 starts next month in the Caribbean, after all, and it’s crucial for the participating teams to gain momentum before it. On that count, Australia have done much better than the White Ferns, winning both the first two games of the three-match series by six wickets.
Schutt is right on top of the wicket-takers’ list for the series with four strikes, at an average of 12.25 and an economy rate of 6.12. You’d expect that from Schutt, the world’s best in the format in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings.
Manuka Oval, the venue for the third T20I, isn’t Schutt’s favourite venue, though – the last time she played a T20I there, against England in November 2017, she went for 0/41 from three overs as the visiting side won by four wickets.
I don’t think we’ve had a whitewash against the Kiwis in a very long time so it’s something we’re looking to do
“I’d like to not go for 40 off my four overs this time,” she joked. “I’ll try and do what I do best and that’s the slower balls and pin them back as much as I can. Nothing else seems to work, especially for pace bowlers – you’ve got to try what you can.
“I think on the day, it’s how it comes off. You get lucky sometimes, and yes, I’ve had a little bit of luck as well. So it’s just T20 cricket.”
As for the series, as most other players have said repeatedly, the main focus is on getting wins – and runs and wickets and catches and everything else – under the belt before the marquee event.
“Yeah, really important. I think it’d be momentum heading into the T20 World Cup. I don’t think we’ve had a whitewash against the Kiwis in a very long time so it’s something we’re looking to do,” said Schutt.
“The momentum heading forward is really important, but I think just the confidence base for the girls to keep going out and playing fearless cricket as we want to do.”
Australia have already sealed their first bilateral T20I series win against New Zealand since 2012, and can now realistically hope for a 3-0 sweep.
“I think we’ve just got our formula right at the moment,” said Schutt. “When you look at our batting line-up, it’s pretty incredible, to be honest. We’ve spoken over the past few months about playing fearless cricket, and we’re coming out and doing that and it’s coming off.”
The third, and final, T20I will be played on Friday, 5 October.
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