ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
Aussies will relish Cup pressure-cooker: Healy
One more slip-up could be very costly for the hosts and tournament favourites as they arrive in Perth ahead of Monday's clash with Sri Lanka
22 February 2020, 08:42 AM AEST
Australia's World Cup path became considerably more challenging after they stumbled to a shock loss to India in Friday's tournament opener, but wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy is adamant the hosts will relish the pressure.
Ranked number one in the world and as defending champs, Australia were worthy pre-tournament favourites having won 26 of their past 31 matches, but the cut-throat nature of the 17-day event leaves little room for error.
While theoretically they could drop another match and still progress to the semi-finals, three wins against their remaining Group A opponents – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and New Zealand – will of course put them in the strongest position to advance to the knockout stage.
Even then, other results could see the top two come down to net run rate.
Meg Lanning's team also have little time to move on from Friday's loss; after Saturday's cross-country flight to Perth, they have just one day to train on Sunday before meeting Sri Lanka at the WACA Ground on Monday.
"We love a bit of pressure, that's fine," Healy told reporters after Friday's game.
"We always say that you can't go through this tournament undefeated."
Australia also suffered a group-stage loss to India in their successful 2018 WT20 campaign in the West Indies, though the context of that loss was far different.
Then, it was their final group match and their place in the semi-finals was already assured.
This time around, the loss to Harmanpreet Kaur's team means their next 10 days will border on make-or-break, with their crucial match against third-ranked New Zealand to be played at Junction Oval on March 2 – their final group game.
"Obviously you don't want to lose the first game, but you often take more out of a loss than a win," Healy said.
"So we'll take all the positives and leave the negatives aside.
"One of the blessings of our really crazy schedule is we don't have a lot of time to dwell on it."
While the match against the White Ferns looms – on paper at least – as the toughest challenge standing between Australia and the semi-finals, they cannot afford to underestimate their next two opponents.
On Monday they face Sri Lanka, the eight-ranked nation led by captain Chamari Athapaththu, who scored two centuries against Australia when her team toured this country last September and October.
Australia then play Bangladesh for the first time in any format when the sides meet at Manuka Oval on February 27.
"(Chamari Athapaththu's) in some good form, they just beat England by 10 wickets," Healy said, referring to Sri Lanka's surprise warm-up win over their English rivals in Adelaide last week.
"We aren't taking any team lightly, it's a really tough pool, and we love that.
"Chamari loves facing our attack, she has hit us to all parts of the ground the last couple of years.
"We'll prepare the best we can, we'll get our plans in place, and if we do that, we'll be OK."
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, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
February 21: India won by 17 runs
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