Commonwealth Games 2022
Aussies eye final tune-up clash ahead of medal push
With a semi-final spot secure, Australia's clash with Pakistan offers a perfect opportunity to build momentum heading into the business end
Laura Jolly in Birmingham
3 August 2022, 03:57 PM AEST
Momentum will be key for Australia as they seek to complete an undefeated Commonwealth Games group stage against Pakistan at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Australia’s place in the semi-finals is secure, but they can lock in top spot in Group A with a win over Pakistan, a side they have never lost to in any format.
They will then meet either England or New Zealand in Saturday’s semi-final for a spot in the gold medal match; both sides have also advanced to the knockout stage but will go head-to-head on Thursday evening to determine who claims top spot in Group B.
"Coming into what's going to be a pretty hectic finals weekend with the semi-finals and medal matches back-to-back, it’s extremely important (to have momentum)," Australia allrounder Tahlia McGrath told cricket.com.au.
"Once we hit those finals, the round games are irrelevant and it's just whoever shows up on the day.
"Whatever four teams are going to be there are going to be quality sides, and anyone can beat anyone on the day with some sides having some extremely dangerous players.
"We have to be ready.
"We’re still fine tuning a bit. Every game we play, we're striving for a little bit of improvement … (but) we seem to be getting better and better every game."
Australia met Pakistan twice during the recent T20 tri-series in Ireland, but both matches were washed out before a result could be achieved.
The Australian attack restricted Pakistan to 8-94 in the second of those meetings and had them at 6-56 after eight overs when rain interrupted the first, but their batters have yet to get a good look at the spin-heavy Pakistan attack.
"They’ve got some quality bowlers, they’re definitely spin heavy but a couple of their seamers are quite handy as well," McGrath said.
"So we'll have to be at our best ... we've certainly spoken about some plans, but at the same time, we've also spoken about just playing to our strengths and backing our own games."
McGrath has had limited time in the middle since Australia embarked on their United Kingdom tour; she struck a brilliant 70 from 40 deliveries against Ireland during the tri-series but her only other chance came in the Commonwealth Games opener against India, when she started brightly with three boundaries before being superbly bowled by Renuka Singh Thakur for 14.
Wow! Thakur with a peach to knock McGrath over through the gate! It's all happening in Australia's run chase #B2022 #AUSvIND | https://t.co/iF9zXRAwwp pic.twitter.com/A3lFZDHTiB— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) July 29, 2022
Meanwhile, the allrounder feels she is finding rhythm with the ball after taking 3-13 against Barbados after struggling to find her radar during the Ireland leg of the tour.
"It's been a strange one, we’ve already played six games and I’ve only been required to bat in two, haven’t bowled in many, but that’s the best thing about being an allrounder, wherever I can get to contribute I’ll do my best for the team," she said.
"I was happy (with my bowling) with the last game, prior to that I probably hadn't really bowled that well.
"I struggled to find my length and struggled for consistency and was a little bit disappointed.
"So I definitely took some confidence and some momentum out of that game and hopefully moving forward, I can be a bit more consistent in and take a few more wickets."
2022 Commonwealth Games
Australia's squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan, Barbados
Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka
Semi-finals: August 6, 11am local (8pm AEST) and 6pm local (3am Aug 7 AEST)
Bronze medal match: August 7, 10am local (7pm AEST)
Gold medal match: August 7, 5pm local (2am Aug 8 AEST)
All matches played at Edgbaston Stadium