ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
We won't rein in aggression, says Gardner
Top-order's attacking approach brought mixed results during tri-series but reigning T20 champions won't back down during World Cup
Laura Jolly in Brisbane
14 February 2020, 02:38 PM AEST
Ashleigh Gardner says Australia’s top-order will not go into their shells, vowing to continue their aggressive approach despite mixed results in the lead-up to the World Cup.
One week out from their opening game of the tournament against India in Sydney, Australia's leading batters have yet to hit full stride.
Opener Alyssa Healy, one of the most damaging batters in the world on her day, failed to reach double figures in any of her five knocks during the CommBank T20I tri-series.
Healy's early dismissals saw the equally attacking Gardner promoted to No.3 on each occasion ahead of captain Meg Lanning, with Australia taking a flexible, like-for-like approach to their attack.
That tactic truly paid off just once, when Gardner blasted a stunning 93 from 57 deliveries against India at Junction Oval, but otherwise bore mixed results with the allrounder posting starts of 16, 22, 10 and 26 at mostly at around a run-a-ball.
While Healy’s recent form has been in the spotlight, Lanning and star allrounder Ellyse Perry have also been short of their best. The pair averaged 19 and 18 respectively in the tri-series and are also looking to go big ahead of the World Cup.
Only opener Beth Mooney, who was named player of the series after averaging 52 and hitting three half-centuries, looked completely comfortable.
Gardner said there were improvements to be made by the top-order but stopped short of saying they were under pressure.
"Beth's done really well but the batters around her haven't done amazingly," Gardner said in Brisbane on Friday morning.
"But I don't think there's too much pressure put on the top order. We all play an attacking brand of cricket, especially myself and Midge (Healy) and when we shy away from our natural game that's when we don't do so well."
🚨 Hello Brisbane! T20 World Cup mode 🔛 pic.twitter.com/OJMOvQV4ei— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) February 13, 2020
After a testing tri-series that saw Australia drop a match to England and India apiece before taking a gritty 11-run victory over the latter in the final, the official World Cup warm-up matches presented another chance to fine tune.
But Australia and West Indies both suffered a blow on Friday evening when their scheduled match on Saturday was cancelled due to a waterlogged outfield at Allan Border Field.
Barely a drop of rain fell on Friday, but the more than 350mm in the days prior took their toll, with ground staff unable to dry the sodden outfield despite their best efforts.
However the Aussies have one more chance to prepare, with a second practice match against South Africa in Adelaide on Tuesday.
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
February 18: Australia v South Africa, Karen Rolton Oval
February 21: Australia v India, Sydney Showgrounds
February 24: Australia v Sri Lanka, WACA Ground
February 27: Australia v Bangladesh, Manuka Oval
March 8: Final, MCG
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* All matches will be broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo, while Australia's matches will also be broadcast on the Nine Network