ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
How Australia's batters regained their spark
A change in mindset and an even closer bond helped Australia's star batters turn their World Cup fortunes around mid-tournament
Laura Jolly in Melbourne
9 March 2020, 05:59 PM AEST
Australia captain Meg Lanning has revealed how she and her fellow batters turned around their fortunes from a shaky start in Sydney to the dominant display that sealed their fifth T20 World Cup title at the MCG on Sunday.
An uncharacteristic collapse against the slow leg-spin of leg-spinner Poonam Yadav in Sydney handed the defending champions an opening defeat, before they claimed a final-over victory over Sri Lanka in Perth after recovering from 3-10.
It was after that performance at the WACA Ground that Lanning and her fellow core batters – openers Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy, alongside Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry – sat down to try and work out what was going wrong.
"We had a few conversations in Canberra, ahead of the Bangladesh game," Lanning told cricket.com.au on Monday.
"We were pretty happy to scrape through against Sri Lanka, but we knew something was a little bit off, it wasn’t quite right.
"It wasn’t anything major but for some reason we weren’t quite clicking – especially as a batting group.
"The bowlers had been doing a pretty good job and had their stuff together, but as a batting group we weren’t putting out on the park what we talked about and what we’d done for the last 18 months."
Those sorts of conversations, particularly in the pressure boiler of a home World Cup, could lead to cracks in a batting unit.
Not so Australia, as Lanning explained.
"We’ve already got the fast bowlers' union, so we actually made a bit of a batters' union," she revealed.
"It was a slight shift in mindset.
"We wanted to stick together and really celebrate each others’ successes and work together as a partnership.
"It can be hard sometimes when there’s only two of you out there, and the other team is up and about and coming so hard at us, so we wanted to have a bit of love for each other and help each other through."
As well as extra meetings through the back end of the group stage and through the tournament finals, the batters’ union started coming together before each match to reaffirm their approach.
It paid off handsomely – Healy and Mooney struck a record opening partnership of 151 against Bangladesh in their next match at Manuka Oval, while the Australians also put a strong 5-155 on the board in their must-win match against New Zealand in Melbourne.
Then, it all came together perfectly in Sunday’s final, as Healy’s 75 and Mooney 78 not out laid the foundation for a record total of 4-184 – the highest in any T20 World Cup final – a target that would prove 85 runs too many for India.
"Before we went out to bat each game we’d come together for a minute, just to go through our plans and what we were going to do for that game.
"That was a commitment that we made and that was it was just about calming us all down really and reinforcing what we wanted to do.
"Moons and Midge (Healy) set the tone for that, they’re such a good duo and complement each other really well.
"(On Sunday) we spoke about how we could calm everyone down and how we would go out there and play good cricket shots to start.
"Midge did that perfectly, there was no slogging in that first over, it was just nice cricket shots to the ball that was bowled."
With a few hours’ sleep, the enormity of Sunday’s victory in front of 86,174 people at the MCG – or the after-party that followed with pop star Katy Perry – had yet to fully sink in for the Australian captain.
Lanning has now won four T20 World Cups and captained three of those, but this was something else.
"It was different, there’s no doubt about it. Everything about this World Cup was different," she said.
"It was incredible, just something you always dream of."
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
February 21: India beat Australia by 17 runs
February 24: Australia beat Sri Lanka by five wickets
February 27: Australia beat Bangladesh by 86 runs
March 8: Australia beat India by 85 runs
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE