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'Never say die' attitude gives Ashes boost

Amidst the gloom of the World Cup defeat, an overlooked partnership underlines the fighting spirit of the Australian Women's team

In the wash up of Australia's shock Women's World Cup semi-final defeat to India in late July, a world record went largely unnoticed.

The defiant 76-run, 10th-wicket partnership between Alex Blackwell and Kristen Beams ultimately wasn't enough to get Australia into the tournament final.

And the shattered Australians weren't exactly racing to check out the record books in the immediate aftermath of the match in Derby.

Blackwell's blazing knock not enough for Aussies

But the stand between Blackwell and Beams significantly outstripped the previous 10th-wicket record in women's ODIs – a 58-run partnership between India's Amita Sharma and Gouher Sultana at Taunton in 2012.

When No.11 batter Beams arrived at the crease, Australia were nine wickets down and needed 113 runs from 57 deliveries.

For 7.4 overs she stuck around, scoring 11 runs alongside vice-captain Blackwell, who smashed 90 runs from 56 deliveries but was ultimately bowled with Australia still 36 runs shy of India's 4-281.

And now as the Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes approach, the pair are drawing on their efforts in Derby as a reminder of Australia's never-say-die attitude, as they aim to soothe the pain of their World Cup result with victory over England in the multi-format series.

What is the Women's Ashes?

"Yes, we lost that game but we nearly did something impossible," Blackwell told cricket.com.au as she reflected on that partnership in Derby.

"The way Beamsy walked out and her positive attitude, she said 'righto Al, time for something special'.

"And the belief she showed made me realise the game wasn't over and you never know what might happen.

Beams scored an unbeaten 26 in her only Test innings so far // Getty
Beams scored an unbeaten 26 in her only Test innings so far // Getty

"We showed within our team that it's really important to never give up and never believe the game is out of your reach until the final wicket.

"I enjoyed the partnership, it was under immense stress and pressure but we went about seeing what we could do.

"We showed any other team around the world that you must get our last wicket before you believe the game is over and I think that bodes well heading into this Ashes series."

World records don't make up for the pain of World Cup semi-final defeats, but both Blackwell and Beams believe the fighting spirit shown by Australia in that loss will stand the team in good stead when the Ashes get underway in Brisbane on October 22.

"I just said mate, I'm in it for the long haul," Beams told cricket.com.au. "I said, 'You just do what you do and I'm here to support you'.

"Alex is such an amazing player, I genuinely thought we could win that.

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"Her innings was so incredibly special, she probably deserved to get us into a World Cup final, I reckon.

"That's what we're all about. We want to be the team that hunts sides down, we don't want people to think we're just going to roll over.

"I think it's important that even though it was such a disappointing outside, we showed we're a team of fighters.

"We're going to have so many tough moments in the Ashes, it's important England know we will fight and we won't roll over when things aren't going our way."

Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes

Schedule

First ODI Allan Border Field, October 22

Brisbane Charity Partner: Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust

Second ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 26

Third ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 29

Coffs Junior Cricket Association Partners: Coffs Harbour District JCA, Nambucca Bellingen JCA, and Clarence River JCA

Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12

First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17

North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation

Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19

Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21

Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT