Commonwealth Games 2022
Scrap or smash, Aussies set sail for semi-finals
World champions confident they have the depth in talent to win against anyone, and from any position, as they fix their focus on gold
Laura Jolly at Edgbaston
4 August 2022, 10:39 AM AEST
Australia's depth and ability to scrap their way out of difficult situations have them well placed for the knockout stage of the Commonwealth Games despite less-than-perfect displays during the group matches, according to Beth Mooney and Alana King.
The tournament favourites completed an undefeated group stage with a 44-run win over Pakistan on Wednesday, cementing top spot in Group A despite coming into the Games with an interrupted preparation thanks to their rain-affected tri-series in Ireland.
Their victories to date have seen them fight back from 5-49 against India to chase down 155, led by the heroics of Ashleigh Gardner and Grace Harris, while in game two Meg Lanning shone with the bat in a nine-wicket demolition of Barbados.
On Wednesday, it was Mooney and Tahlia McGrath who steadied Australia from a tricky position at 2-19, putting on 141 from 88 balls to put the game beyond Pakistan.
"I think we're hitting our straps really nicely," King said on Wednesday. "We haven't had a complete game yet and I'm sure the batters would have a chat about that, and even the bowlers, there's places and areas that we can tidy up heading into the medal matches.
"I think anyone can beat anyone on any given day – it's T20 cricket, things are going to go your way and things aren't going to go your way.
"(But) we've been able to scrap through some tough times and show that we don't just rely on a few people, with our whole team it's one big effort … and everyone's happy to play their part to make sure that we either scrap or we really put the foot on the throat."
Tahlia McGrath's made a pretty handy start to her T20 International career! Currently averages 169.50 after six innings 🤯 #B2022 #BoldInGold @CommGamesAUS pic.twitter.com/UG1a9LHhn9— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) August 3, 2022
Rather than being concerned that no single member of the batting line-up has dominated the group stage of the Games, Mooney pointed to individual performances and the circumstances they were scored in as proof of the advantage Australia's depth provides over their rivals.
To date, the only batter yet to make a significant contribution is Rachael Haynes, who faced just 14 balls in the one innings she was required.
"The media jump all over us for a couple of low scores, but for us as a batting group and as a team, we know how fickle T20 cricket is and as long as we're playing the style that we want to play and executing our skills as best we can, sometimes it comes off, and sometimes it doesn't," Mooney said.
"I think we've shown throughout this tournament especially that we've got the players who can take the game on in different circumstances and we've got the belief in our dressing room that we can win from anywhere."
Mooney was relatively watchful early in her innings against Pakistan, reaching 50 from 42 deliveries before adding another 20 runs from the next seven balls she faced, and the opener believes that approach could be a blueprint for Australia's other batters during the knockout phase.
"We've spoken about as a batting group that if we have to take our medicine a bit early in an innings to cash in at the end, that's OK, too," she continued.
"Having that reinforcement from Shell (Nitschke) and Meg (Lanning) to be able to do that probably helped me kick on with my innings."
Australia's semi-final opponent will be either hosts England or New Zealand, depending on the result of the top-of-the-group clash between the sides on Thursday evening.
Mooney said she had no preference in opposition, nor was she concerned about the pressure that will come with a spot in the gold medal match on the line in Saturday's semi-final.
"I think we thrive in those conditions, this team," she said. "Pressure is a bit of a privilege in my eyes, and there's certainly no amount of pressure out there that's more than what we put on ourselves to perform day in and day out.
"The challenge that awaits us is really exciting and I think we've responded really well to some challenges throughout this tournament."
2022 Commonwealth Games
Australia's squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan, Barbados
Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka
August 3: Australia beat Pakistan by 44 runs
Semi-finals: August 6, 11am local (8pm AEST) and 6pm local (3am Aug 7 AEST)
Bronze medal match: August 7, 10am local (7pm AEST)
Gold medal match: August 7, 5pm local (2am Aug 8 AEST)
All matches played at Edgbaston Stadium