Sport Cricket Ashleigh Gardner shines but can’t stave off India in second T20 defeat

Ashleigh Gardner shines but can’t stave off India in second T20 defeat

Ashleigh Gardner adds another run to her career-best 93, but it wasn't anywhere near enough to keep India at bay. Photo: WCL/Twitter
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Australian allrounder Ashleigh Gardner is adamant the team’s inconsistent Twenty20 form is not a concern leading into the women’s World Cup.

They are in danger of missing the tri-series final after losing on Saturday to India, who have chased down the third-highest total in a women’s T20 international with three balls to spare.

But Gardner, whose career-best 93 at Melbourne’s Junction Oval proved to be in vain, said Australia were focused on their opening World Cup game against India on February 21 at Spotless Stadium in Sydney.

“I wouldn’t say concerned because we haven’t lost by much. If we got smashed, it’d be a conversation but we’ve only just lost those games,” Gardner said.

“We always talk about winning the close ones and we haven’t won two of three close ones.

“These games don’t matter as much as what the World Cup’s going to matter.

“This tri-series is all about trying different things.”

Gardner said her “bittersweet” innings was partly inspired by a pre-game meeting with Brian Lara and Wasim Akram.

The pair are in Melbourne preparing for Sunday’s Cricket Australia bushfire relief charity match, which will be played after the women’s game between Australia and England.

“I’m a bit of a cricket nuffie,” Gardner said.

“That was pretty cool to see the two of the best of their generation.

“Wasim Akram actually said that he was actually going to start following my career so I’ve got a bit of pressure but I’m off to a good start.”

Australia need to beat England to be assured of playing in Wednesday’s tri-series final.