Australia skipper Meg Lanning says her team have ‘plenty to learn’ from their rain-affected loss to New Zealand in Sunday’s second Twenty20 international.
Working out how best to nullify in-form New Zealand opening bowler Lea Tahuhu will be first and foremost among those lessons for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, as they prepare for Wednesday’s series decider at Adelaide Oval.
“We weren’t positive enough with our intent during those first six overs and we let New Zealand dictate too much,” Lanning noted after the Australia squad touched down in Adelaide on Monday morning.
“Once we came out after the break, even though we were in an OK position, we just couldn’t score from enough balls and we were looking for the boundary too much.
“There’s plenty to learn from that game and hopefully we do that for the next one.”
One of the fastest bowlers in the women’s game, Tahuhu’s pace and movement during the Power Play put the Australian top-order on the back foot early in their pursuit of a below-par 9-101, the hosts never able to hit the accelerator during a rain-interrupted second innings that ultimately saw them fall eight runs short of a revised total of 70.
Tahuhu’s four overs went for just 11, the pressure she placed on the Australian top order showing as openers Lanning (9) and Beth Mooney (4) and No.3 Ashleigh Gardner (5) all fell for single-digit scores.
“Tahuhu’s a very good bowler and it’s just about executing a bit better against her, getting off strike and putting the bad balls away,” Lanning said.
“It’s something for me personally, I’ll have to look to try and do a bit better against her, but it’s also something for the rest of the team as well.”
While Sunday’s defeat has left the series hanging in the balance, Lanning can see plenty of positives in the way newcomers Molly Strano and Amanda-Jade Wellington have settled into international cricket after making their T20I debuts in the opening match at the MCG.
Off-spinner Strano took 5-10 in Sunday’s match, the best T20I figures by any Australian, male or female, while leg-spinner Wellington’s first two matches have reaped 3-15 and 2-22.
“Molly’s come in and looked very comfortable, she’s really taken to international cricket as we thought she would,” the skipper said.
“She’s been a very good player for a number of years now.
“She keeps things very simple, but she’s come in and done a great job for us so far.
“It’s nice to see young players come in and play well.
“Wellington’s going to be a great wicket-taker for us, she’s an aggressive bowler who has settled in nicely.”
Lanning also believes New Zealand should be very wary of Gardner, believing Australia’s third debutant of the series is ready to break a game open after scores of nought and five in her first two international outings.
Gardner has been run-out on both occasions, caught short of her crease after an unsuccessful lbw appeal on debut before a disastrous mix-up with Lanning at Kardinia Park on Sunday.
“Ash is a calm character who hasn’t probably had as much opportunity with the bat as she would have liked, but I don’t think she’s far from breaking a game open,” Lanning said.
“She came on and bowled a great over there on Sunday which was what we needed and I think she is going to be very handy for us.”
Having fielded four frontline spinners in the opening two T20Is, Lanning was coy on whether one of the three pace options sitting on the sidelines – Rene Farrell, Lauren Cheatle or uncapped Sarah Aley – could be given an opportunity in Adelaide.
“There are some good players there missing out, so we have a lot to think about in terms of the combination we go with,” she added.
“The bowlers in particular have done well in both games, so hopefully whatever line-up we do go with, will go well.”