Back-end blitz key to World Cup tilt: Healy

Australia 'keeper says she's taken their late-innings let downs "personally" as the Stars eye a seventh ODI crown in the UK

Wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy is determined to step up and provide the middle-order runs Australia are searching for when the ICC Women's World Cup gets underway later this month.

Australia have identified a trend of late-innings fade-offs as an area they need to improve if they want to lift their seventh World Cup trophy next month.

With the top-order regularly setting strong platforms when batting first but totals above 300 going begging, the middle-order is in focus, coach Matthew Mott has challenged his charges to produce barnstorming finishes during the final 15 overs.

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On Sunday when the Australian team trained for the first time in Oakham, the village one hour east of Leicester that will play host to their first official ICC warm-up game on Tuesday, that aspect of their game was again in the spotlight during a centre-wicket training drill. 

Asked after that session If she felt a responsibility to help turn around that trend, Healy, who generally bats at No.7, was blunt.

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"Yep," she said.

"It's not an easy job, but it's been a focus of the team's for a little while.

"We've let ourselves down and the top four have done a good job early for us and set us up nicely and then the middle-order have ort of lost their way a bit in the last 10 overs.

"For me, I take that personally a little bit and we'll be looking to get out there and contribute in those last 10 overs and get a good total on the board.

"Those last 15 or 10 overs in the batting innings has been a big focus for us over the last 12 months, so it's making sure we score off as many balls as we can and rotate the strike."

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Healy has started the World Cup campaign on a promising note, scoring 25 in a warm-up match against New Zealand and 34 off 21 in an intra-squad game last week. 

Now, she hopes to build on that during what will be a hectic group stage of the tournament, with each of the eight teams to play each other once over a three-week period.

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"It was nice to spend some time out in the middle," Healy said.

"I didn't make too many runs in the scenarios back in Australia, so it's nice to get out there, face a pretty quality attack in the Kiwis and in our own group.

"A little bit of confidence gained there, but it'll be a good test come Monday week when we get out there."

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Healy is also pleased with how her game has been shaping up behind the stumps since the Australian squad began their pre-tournament training in late April.

"It could always be better, I'm a perfectionist a little bit there," she said.

"But I enjoyed having a break and not focusing on cricket and now to come back and feel like I'm peaking at the right time is a good thing.

"I had a solid catch today and they feel like they're going in nicely, so hopefully come game time I'll be ready to go."

Australia will meet South Africa in Tuesday's practice fixture, to be played in the picturesque grounds of Oakham School.

With both teams permitted to play as many members of their 15-player squads as desired, it promises to be a crucial hit-out as the Australian selectors mull their best XI.

A second warm-up will follow at Leicestershire's Grace Road Oval on Thursday, before their opening World Cup clash with West Indies in Taunton on June 26. 

Women's World Cup 2017 Guide

Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington

Squads: Every World Cup squad named so far

Australia's World Cup schedule

View the full tournament schedule here

Warm-up matches

June 20: Australia v South Africa, Oakham

June 22: Australia v Pakistan, Leicester


June 26: Australia v West Indies, Taunton

June 29: Sri Lanka v Australia, Bristol

July 2: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol

July 5: Pakistan v Australia, Leicester

July 9: England vAustralia, Bristol

July 12: Australia v India, Bristol

July 15: South Africa v Australia, Taunton

July 18: First semi-final, Bristol

July 20: Second semi-final, Derby

July 23: Final, Lord's

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