Sport Cricket T20 World Cup: Australia stays calm before crucial Sri Lanka clash

T20 World Cup: Australia stays calm before crucial Sri Lanka clash

Rachael Haynes at a team photo session. Photo: Getty
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Australia vice-captain Rachael Haynes said the side is “in a good place” before Monday’s critical clash in Perth against Sri Lanka at the T20 World Cup.

Tournament hosts Australia was surprised by India in the World Cup opener in Sydney on Friday, bowled out for 115 when chasing 133 for victory.

The first-up defeat means Australia is likely to need three wins from as many matches just to reach the semi-finals.

Not making the last four would be a major blow for Meg Lanning’s side, particularly with a massive crowd expected for the MCG final on March 8, which Katy Perry will perform at.

But Haynes said the team was not feeling the pressure in the build-up to Monday’s clash at the WACA Ground.

“I think the other day was a minor blip. I don’t think it’s any cause of concern,” Haynes told reporters on Sunday.

“We’ve got some world-class batters in our line-up … in that [India] game, we paid a really high price for our mistakes.

“I don’t think it’s any cause of concern to press the panic button or anything, it’s just about being really clear on what our plans are against opposition bowlers, and backing our skills to execute it.

“We’ve certainly got the batting group to do that.”

Haynes added: “I think the squad’s in a good place and looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.

“The first game didn’t go to plan, but that’s sometimes the nature of World Cup games – you don’t have it all your own way.

“The challenge that lies ahead of us isn’t too dissimilar to the challenge a lot of teams face, in that if you want to win the World Cup and be part of it at the business end, you pretty much have to win five games of cricket.

“That’s what’s in front of us and that starts tomorrow against Sri Lanka.”

The forecast

Complicating the scenario is the fact that rain is expected during the match, which begins at 6pm (AEDT).

If no result is possible due to the weather, both sides will split the points.

Sri Lanka lost its first match of the tournament, New Zealand winning by seven wickets on Saturday.

But that result does not tell the full story.

New Zealand was 2-65 with just eight overs left chasing 128 to win and was thankful that captain Sophie Devine – who made 75 not out – was dropped on both 19 and 60.

Sri Lanka beat England by 10 wickets in its final warm-up match before the tournament started, though, and in Chamari Athapaththu, have a batter who knows what it takes against Australia.

Athapaththu made a Twenty20 international century and a one-day international century against Australia last year.

“We know them pretty well,” Lanning said on Saturday.

“We played a series against them late last year, and we saw them beat England the other day in the practice game.

“We’re very wary of them, we know that they’re a threat – Athapaththu especially with the bat. She’s played well against us in the past.

“We’ll be ready and planned, and hopefully we can execute Monday.”

Fast bowler Nicola Carey could be considered for a recall after dismissing Athapaththu once last year, particularly given the WACA pitch normally assists pace bowlers.

Australia will then play Bangladesh on Thursday, before a final group match against New Zealand in Melbourne on March 2.

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