Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy says her poised performance in the second one-day international against New Zealand couldn’t have come at a better time, admitting she’s been feeling “under the pump” with the bat.
Healy shelved her aggressive instincts in Thursday’s second ODI, playing a poised hand of 36 and sharing a crucial 81-run stand with vice-captain Alex Blackwell that ensured the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars set up a series decider against the White Ferns on Sunday.
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Her innings of 36 from 41 was her second-highest ODI total from 35 innings, with Healy making the most of an opportunity under pressure – coming in at No.6 with Australia 4-138 in the 27th over, still 116 runs shy of victory – and with the added bonus of ample overs with which to build her innings.
“It was nice to spend a bit of time in the middle, I’ve been under-performing with the bat for a little while now for Australia,” Healy said ahead of Australia’s final training session at Bay Oval on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been pretty frustrating in that regard but it was nice to get out there and spend a bit of time in the middle and have a bit of a partnership with Alex who was batting nicely.”
While Healy’s work behind the stumps at international level has earned her praise from all corners – including from former Australia skipper Michael Clarke – the 26-year-old hasn’t managed to have the same impact with the bat that she’s enjoyed at domestic level.
Her average of 13.42 in ODIs has not been helped by the fact she generally bats somewhere between six and eight and is often tasked with adding quick runs late in an innings, but Healy didn’t shy away from admitting she had been feeling the pressure heading into Thursday’s match.
“I’ve been thinking and talking about my cricket a lot of late," she said. “It was probably the perfect time for me to come into that situation.
“I was a bit nervous because I’ve been under the pump a little bit with the bat, so it was nice to go out there and know I had some time to bat and get myself into an innings.
“It was nice to perform in that situation, but in saying that, it’s not too bad when I come out with five overs to go and get to slog a few as well.”
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Healy hopes her services with the bat won’t be called upon in Sunday’s decider, but she’s confident she can build on Thursday’s performance if she is needed.
“It would have been nice to have been there at the end when we got over the line," she added. “Both myself and Alex should have been there, not out.
“Hopefully I won’t be needed to play that role again next game.
“But I am confident if called upon I can do the job that’s needed and take a bit of confidence out of the other day.”
The Southern Stars have not lost an ODI series since August 2013, when they were defeated by England 2-1 away from home, and they last lost a one-day series to New Zealand in 1999.
A burning desire to continue those winning streaks will be driving the world No.1 team on Sunday, Healy said.
“We’ve held (the Rose Bowl) for 17 years and we don’t want to be the side to hand it back to the Kiwis," she added.
“It plays on your mind a little, but we’ve played some really good cricket in the last game and we’ll take a bit confidence out of that and hopefully put a good performance on the board on Sunday.
“It’s a special trophy to hold.”
The Rose Bowl decider will be streamed live and free on cricket.com.au and the Cricket Australia Live App, thanks to New Zealand Cricket, from 9am AEDT on Sunday.