Australia’s top-order batters have put on an ominous display, while uncapped leg-spinner Georgia Wareham has made a case for an international debut in a warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI in Manly.
The clash against the strong CA XI – featuring internationally capped players including Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Belinda Vakarewa and Tahlia McGrath – serves as Australia’s main chance to fine-tune for Saturday night’s Commonwealth Bank T20 series opener at North Sydney Oval.
Australia wrapped up an emphatic nine wicket win inside 13 overs, but more crucially, it was a chance for captain Meg Lanning to give each of her bowlers a work out ahead of Saturday’s match and for the top-order batters to spend important time in the middle.
Needing 125 for victory, Alyssa Healy made a blazing start with the bat, racing to 23 before her 11-ball knock came to an end when she mistimed a drive off Vakarewa.
Fellow opener Beth Mooney was denied the strike early but once Healy departed the Queenslander picked up where she left off, bringing up a half-century from 35 deliveries and finishing unbeaten on 54.
Ashleigh Gardner came into the match under a cloud after missing the opening round of the Women’s National Cricket League due to concussion, but the exciting allrounder appears primed to take on New Zealand.
She opened the bowling with her off-spin and then took her place at No.3 in the Australian batting order, striking 39 from 29 including one huge six back down the ground off leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington.
Earlier, Lanning elected to give her bowlers the first work out, teenage leg-spinner Wareham made an impressive case for inclusion in Saturday’s XI when she captured the wickets of top-order batters Bolton and Naomi Stalenberg, asking plenty of questions of the batters in her 2-25 from four overs.
Allrounder Ellyse Perry also impressed, collecting the wicket of Sophie Molineux – an Australian squad member given a chance with the bat in the CA XI – to finish with 1-17 off four, while Nicola Carey was unrewarded in an economical spell of 0-12 off three.
One disappointment for the Australians is the news uncapped quick Tayla Vlaeminck suffered an acute quad injury during the opening round of domestic 50-over cricket at the weekend, with the ailment to rule out any chance of a debut on Saturday – although the 19-year-old is expected to be available for Monday’s second match in Brisbane.
Counting down the days 'til we get to do this all again! Get down and watch us take on the @WHITE_FERNS at North Sydney Oval on Saturday night #WATCHME TICKETS: https://t.co/JX5sMrHXWq pic.twitter.com/5N9ruamfja— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@SouthernStars) September 26, 2018
With Australia’s current 13-strong squad to be bolstered with two additional players for November’s World T20 in the Caribbean, Thursday’s matches are also a chance for the CA XI to make a case for inclusion.
CA XI skipper Bolton led the way against Australia with 42 from 39, while McGrath also impressed with the bat, scoring 26 from 20.
A second warm-up featuring New Zealand and the CA XI was scheduled to be played at Manly Oval from 2pm.
CommBank T20 INTLs v NZ
Australia T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra