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Mighty Mooney looms as Stars' X-factor

WBBL Player of the Tournament expected to make a splash when Southern Stars take on White Ferns in Melbourne

'Watch out for Beth Mooney' is the message from Australia skipper Meg Lanning ahead of Australia's limited-overs series against New Zealand.

Queensland batter Mooney was named the player of the Rebel Women's Big Bash League season after scoring 482 runs at 43.81 for the Brisbane Heat, with Lanning the only player to score more runs across WBBL|02.

Her performances included five half-centuries, with the diminutive opener regularly taking games away from opposition teams with her attacking starts.

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Her runs came at the impressive strike rate of 115.58, and now her national captain is tipping the Queenslander to carry that form into the international arena.

"Beth Mooney's going to be a good player for us, she's really improved over the last year and taken her game to the next level," Lanning said.

"She just seems to understand her game really well at the moment and is really confident, so hopefully we see that in Australian colours."

A regular member of Australian squads as a reserve wicketkeeper, Mooney's improvement with the bat saw her force her way into the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars XI in January last year, making her international debut in a T20I against India at Adelaide Oval.

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Her 50-over debut followed the next month in New Zealand and she now has six ODI and 10 T20I appearances to her name, averaging 21.60 and 33.25 across the respective formats.

She's batted everywhere from her preferred opening position to No.8, but having now staked her claim on an openers' berth in the 50-over format – Australia coach Matthew Mott commenting at the end of last November's series against South Africa that the position was now hers to lose – Mooney is keen to do the same in the 20-over game.

"I've worked on being a little more consistent in my cricket and hopefully I can transfer that to the next level," Mooney told cricket.com.au.

"I love every opportunity I get to play for Australia and to open as well, so hopefully they send me up there and give me a go.

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"Early on in my innings I look to take games away from the opposition and lead from the front, so hopefully whoever I'm batting with gets some momentum off me.

"In the first six it's important to take some more risks and get more out of those overs.

"The aggressive nature of my batting means it won't come off all the time, but when it does it's a nice feeling.

"The Australian team has talked about the style we want to play and the aggressive nature of how we want to go about it, so hopefully I can bring that to this group as well."

We have to make every game count: Lanning

Australia will play the White Ferns in three T20s starting this Friday at the MCG, followed by a three-game ODI tour of New Zealand, which will feature matches in Auckland and Mount Maunganui – the same Bay Oval venue where Mooney scored 53 on ODI debut last February.

"It's a nice spot and I have some fond memories from there," she added.

"Winning the Rose Bowl there last year was a really nice feeling and something that was awesome to be a part of for the first time.

"Hopefully we can do it again this year."

The three T20s will be played as double-headers alongside the men’s KFC T20 INTL series against Sri Lanka, with all three matches to be broadcast live on Nine’s Wide World of Sports.

Australia v New Zealand T20s

17 February: MCG, Melbourne, 2.05pm AEDT

19 February: Kardinia Park, Geelong, 2.35pm AEDT

22 February: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, 2.05pm AEDT

Australia v New Zealand ODIs

26 February: Eden Park No.2, Auckland, 9am AEDT

2 March: Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, 9am AEDT 

5 March: Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, 9am AEDT

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