After watching her stunning unbeaten century on Tuesday night, Australia coach Matthew Mott has no doubt opener Beth Mooney can be one of the best batters in the world.
Mooney produced the second highest Women’s T20 international score in history against England on Tuesday evening, a ruthless 117no from 70 balls with 19 fours and one hefty six.
It’s also the highest Women’s T20 score in Australia, eclipsing the mark of 86no she set just five days earlier at North Sydney Oval - a knock that helped the hosts retain the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes.
In the wake of Mooney’s innings at Manuka Oval, Mott revealed the challenge he threw down to the Queenslander that she’s quite literally smashed out of the park.
“I remember saying to her early in the series, ‘How about we see the real Beth Mooney play here? If this was a WBBL attack you’d be bossing it’,” Mott said.
“That was a great thing from a coaching point of view, to see her go out there and play the way that she can play.
“We’ve said internally that should inspire a lot of the other batters within the group who aren’t as fearless at the moment.
“I think she’s a real beacon in our squad in terms of someone who’s had their struggles, looked inside herself and come out and took the game on.”
Given how well Mooney performed in the T20 leg of the multi-format series, it’s hard to imagine how she was dropped from the one-day side at the start of the campaign.
The decision to omit Mooney was based on team balance and one of the many tough calls the Australia selectors had to make this series, but the left-hander says the close bond she’s struck with the head coach made it easier to digest her demotion.
“It’s really important to build a good relationship with the coaching staff and as Motty said, I’m very fortunate to be based in Brisbane and work with him a fair bit,” Mooney said after play.
“It makes the hard conversations a lot easier to take when you have that level of understanding, and when I missed out on the one-dayers, I think knowing that he believes in me and backs my game makes that a bit easier to swallow.”
As far as T20 innings go, Mooney kept it simple and simple is quite often the best.
She hit 19 fours through gaps and over fielders into the vacant regions of the lightning-fast Manuka Oval surface, an aspect that impressed Mott.
“The strategy behind the way she played today I thought was outstanding,” he said. “Every time they moved the field she hit the gap that was there to be hit.
“I don’t think at all she tried to over-hit the ball her whole innings. She was pretty clinical the way she picked off (gaps) with only four fielders out, which is what we’ve spoken about, there’s always a gap out there and she exploited that really well.
“I didn’t think England bowled that badly, but then she was just able to get that boundary when she needed it every time and it was never through pure brute force - it was a lot of strategy behind it.”
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes
Australia drew England 8-8
Australia T20 squad: Sarah Aley, Alex Blackwell, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (c), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
England squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Nat Sciver, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.
First ODI Australia won by two wickets
Second ODI Australia won by 75 runs (DLS method)
Third ODI England won by 20 runs (DLS method)
Day-Night Test Match drawn
First T20 Australia won by six wickets
North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation
Second T20 England won by 40 runs
Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21
Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT