Australia skipper Meg Lanning says her team won’t panic after their heavy defeat at the hands of India in Saturday’s fourth and final World T20 group match in Guyana, but will learn some important lessons ahead of Thursday’s semi-final.
A dominant display from Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur led India to 7-167 and Australia’s batters never got going in reply, bowled out for just 119.
Australia had already secured a semi-final berth heading into the match, but the loss means they finish second in Group B – a concern if the fickle Caribbean weather should play havoc with Thursday’s semi-final double-header, with no reserve day in place – and they’ll meet the winner of tomorrow’s match between England and hosts West Indies.
There is also cause for concern with in-form opener Alyssa Healy unable to bat on Saturday after suffering a mild concussion following a collision in the field and facing a race to prove her fitness for the finals.
Healy will be assessed over the coming days, while Lanning and the Australian coaching staff will examine what went wrong against India ahead of what looms as a tough semi-final regardless of their opponent.
“I think there's a lot we can learn from it,” Lanning said after play. “It’s a good opportunity to learn and see what we need to do moving forward.
“We know that we've got the team here to win. But we need to put it out of the park and perform under pressure.
“And India put us under pressure today. And I thought the bowlers did a reasonable job in keeping them to that score.
“But, if we're going to win this World Cup, we'll have to chase the score around that.
“So we're definitely going to have to learn from this, which our group has done really well over the last year or so.
“So I'm very confident that we'll bounce back.”
Lanning was happy to take her share of the blame for Australia’s below-par batting performance after being dismissed for 10 from 16 deliveries.
Only No.7 Ellyse Perry impressed with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 39 from 28, but she had ilttle help as Elyse Villani (6), Beth Mooney (19), Ashleigh Gardner (20), Rachael Haynes (8), Sophie Molineux (9) and Delissa Kimmince (1) all fell cheaply.
Having been optimistic about chasing the required total at the innings break, Lanning said her team could learn from the way Mandhana and Kaur approached their innings.
“We've got the power there to (chase those scores), but we just need to be a little more crafty about how we go about it and make sure we're building those big partnerships and not letting those wickets fall too often,” Lanning said.
“I think we found the field a lot and we had too many dot balls.
“India showed that it was a really good batting wicket if you played good cricket shots. “(But) we just never got going. The powerplay, we didn't really get off to that flyer. And then myself, I kept hitting the ball to the fielder, and then played a big shot and got out.
“When you're chasing 170, you need to be scoring off as many balls as you can and building those big partnerships, which we weren't able to do.”
Lanning hit a quickfire 41 off 34 in Australia’s opening match against Pakistan but hasn’t reached her usual lofty heights in her two innings since with scores of 5 and 10 against New Zealand and India.
But the Australian skipper isn’t concerned about her own form heading into the business end of the tournament.
“I'm good to go,” she said. “There's nothing wrong with me. I'm disappointed to not have scored as many runs as I would have liked in this tournament, especially in sort of the big games.
“I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I felt like I was hitting the ball well out there today but I hit a fielder a few too many times.
“But I have been disappointed with how I've been going personally and will definitely need to step it up for the semi. We need all our senior players playing well.”
Australia will meet the winner of Sunday’s final Group A match between West Indies and England at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Thursday at 4pm (7am Friday AEDT), and Lanning is expecting a tough semi-final regardless of their opponent, with both teams in good form.
“There's no easy games from now on,” she said. “Whoever we do play will be very challenging. And we know we're going to have to play well to win.”
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 beat Pakistan by 52 runs
November 11: Australia beat Ireland by nine wickets
November 13: Australia beat New Zealand by 33 runs
November 17: Australia lost to India by 48 runs
November 22: Semi-finals, Sir Vivian Richards Ground, Antigua
November 24: Final, Sir Vivian Richards Ground