Women's World T20 2018
India skipper gave Aussies faith
Watching the game prior to their World Twenty20 opener helped the Australian team, according to Alyssa Healy
Laura Jolly in Guyana
10 November 2018, 11:37 AM AEST
Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy says the heroics of India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur gave her the confidence to go hard at Pakistan's bowlers in Friday's World T20 opener in Guyana.
Harmanpreet, who will again line up for the Sydney Thunder in this summer's Rebel WBBL competition, struck a magnificent century to power her team to a first-up win against New Zealand at Guyana's Providence Stadium.
Her 103, coming from just 51 deliveries, was the first T20I century from an Indian woman and just the third in the tournament's history.
Her knock came on a wicket many feared would produce low scores, given Guyana's reputation for being low and slow and the difficulties had by batters from all teams during the warm-up matches this week, including Australia who were 3-8 then 4-38 against South Africa.
With Australia's match against Pakistan the second in a triple-header on Friday, following India's game, the Aussie batters were watching on closely as Harmanpreet went to town in a blazing knock featuring seven fours and eight maximums.
"I think the other night sort of scared us off a little bit," Healy said after Australia sealed a 52-run win.
"When we played South Africa we were a bit worried about the conditions we were potentially going to get.
"But I guess watching the game before us today on the telly and watching Kaur just bomb them into the stands I think gave us a little bit of hope that the wicket was going to be pretty true, and that turned out to be the case.
"And it looks like a fantastic cricket wicket, and hopefully it will stay that way all four round games.”
Harmanpreet looms as key to India's hopes at this tournament and Australia's brains trust will no doubt be keeping an eye on how she fares against Pakistan and Ireland because she meets Australia on November 17.
The Sydney Thunder regular is no stranger to the Southern Stars. Two of her WBBL teammates are part of Australia's squad at the tournament, while the big-hitting 29-year-old singlehandedly ended Australia's 50-over World Cup dream in the UK last July with a stunning 171no.
"Both were big innings for us,” Harmanpreet said when asked to compare her centuries. "We were qualifying for the finals. And today was still staying in the league. And I think both innings were important."
But before they take on India, Australia will first have their attention fixed on claiming more crucial points against Ireland when they meet from 4pm local time on Sunday (7am Monday AEDT).
The Australians are also very familiar with several of their Irish rivals, with speedster Kim Garth, veteran Isobel Joyce and Celeste Raack all previous WBBL players.
"Kimmie G has done pretty good things for the Sixers over the last few years," Healy said of Garth, who won the WBBL|02 and WBBL|03 titles alongside the Australian wicketkeeper.
"She's definitely one to watch with the ball.
"She's a serious T20 bowler and we'll do our homework and see the areas that we can score, that's for sure."
2018 ICC Women's World T20
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
November 9: Australia v Pakistan, Province Stadium, Guyana
November 11: Australia v Ireland, Province Stadium
November 13: Australia v New Zealand, Province Stadium
November 17: Australia v India, Province Stadium
November 22: Semi-finals, Sir Vivian Richards Ground, Antigua
November 24: Final, Sir Vivian Richards Ground