ICC World T20 - Women
More top-order woes for Southern Stars
Australia's women again suffered a top-order collapse but Ellyse Perry is confident they will improve
Laura Jolly in Nagpur
22 March 2016, 08:49 AM AEST
It was a new contest and a new continent, but it was the same old story for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars against New Zealand in Nagpur, as their top-order again faltered.
On Friday against the Proteas, Australia found themselves 3-9, but the situation on Monday was even more dire at 4-4 – and this time with captain and world No.1 batter Meg Lanning back in the sheds, the unlucky victim of a misjudged quick single.
Quick Single: Southern Stars undone by red-hot White Ferns
It continued the trend from Australia's T20 series against New Zealand earlier this month, where the Southern Stars produced first-wicket stands of 24, 10 and 14.
The last time Australia advanced through the powerplay without losing a wicket – not counting their 70-run stand in their warm-up against the West Indies last week – came when Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry put on 121 for the first wicket against Ireland in Dublin last August.
This is in spite of having a batting line-up that would be the envy of any country in the world, featuring power hitter Villani and Alyssa Healy, the peerless Lanning, superstar allrounder Perry and the unflappable experience of Alex Blackwell.
Despite the wobbles, Perry is backing Australia's top-order to turn things around, with two group matches remaining in Delhi against Sri Lanka and Ireland and a spot in the semi-finals on the line.
"(Losing early wickets) is a problem and we've tried a few different opening combinations, but we're really set on our batting order now, it's just about being consistent," Perry said after the match.
"I'd really have to go back and look at some of the dismissals today and see what went wrong but we've very confident in our top four or five batters to do really well and take on the power play.
"It's just something we haven't managed to do consistently over the last few months, so hopefully in the last couple of round matches we can really start to nail that."
World T20 Today: Aussies alive and kicking
Perry said the Southern Stars had simply struggled to adapt to the pace of the wicket – a different one to the pitch used in their game against South Africa – while New Zealand's all-out spin tactics with the new ball also paid off.
"We certainly made it look very difficult to bat on, especially early on.
"New Zealand bowled really well and their spinners were quite accurate in way they targeted the stumps.
"The lower and slower it got the harder it was to hit it off the square, and I think we just took a while to adjust to the pace of the pitch.
"I think their (opening with two spinners) tactic worked pretty well, especially on that kind of wicket when the ball was hard and it was probably easiest to score. Taking the pace off ball like they did it made it hard to do that."
Quick Single: Stars pledge Paralympic support
Perry was the saviour of Australia's innings on Monday, looking comfortable at the crease in a 48-ball 42 as she helped the Southern Stars reach 8-103.
While the Southern Stars are sticking to the opening combination of Healy and Villani, they did make an interesting move, elevating Erin Osborne – who is generally known for her off-spin bowling – to No.3.
Osborne has been impressive in the nets and during long-range hitting practice, but her promotion almost immediately backfired against New Zealand, as she called skipper Meg Lanning through for a single, only for the captain to be caught well short of her crease, departing for a duck.
Osborne became Kasperek's third victim just 10 balls later.
Quick Single: Young Cheatle impressing in India
"It probably felt like it was going to be easiest score against the harder ball early on and Erin's been hitting them fantastically well in the nets and she hits it hard so we thought it was a great opportunity for her to get out there and score some quick runs and get some momentum for us in the first six overs,” Perry explained.
"That was the reason behind it, but it didn't come off."
Despite the heavy defeat, Perry is confident her teammates will bounce back for their remaining two group matches, where Australia need to not only win but also boost their run rate to be certain of advancing to the semi-finals.
"I don't think (the defeat) is deflating at all, it'll give us something to work on," she said.
"We're keen to get out there and work on a few things that didn't come off for us today.
"There are things we want to improve on in these round matches to hopefully qualify for the semi-finals."