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Alright then, Women's cricket is catching up Men's Cricket quickly as far as getting back to normalcy in Cricket is concerned. While West Indies Women are touring England to play a five-match T20I series, Australia Women are set to host New Zealand Women in a long tour that will feature 3 T20Is and 3 ODIs. Both sides last played a game almost around six months ago and might want to ease into things. Having said that, they both had good practice in the warm-up match and should be good to go.
Although Australia have historically been a better team between the two, this is a new beginning and a close contest is on the cards. The match between the two sides is to be played at Allan Border Field, Brisbane, on 26th September 2020.
Australian Women's last game was the historic T20 World Cup final at Melbourne Cricket Ground and they would consider themselves lucky that Cricket just vanished a week after that. Barring a few injuries, Australia will be playing with pretty much the same team as they played in the T20 World Cup. Most of their players featured in the 40-over practice match against New Zealand XI and that match would have certainly helped the players get back into the groove.
Batting first in the practice match, Australian Women racked up a fine total of 247 runs in 40 overs. Considering that almost all of their players had not been on the ground for almost six months, it was certainly a praiseworthy batting performance. With a 60-ball 57, Sophie Molineux assisted Beth Mooney and Rachel Haynes, who were the other two players to score a fifty each, as Australia racked up a decent total.
While Australia's batting looked in decent form, it was their bowling that got them to a win, although inconsequential, in the warm-up match. Molineux was the pick of the Aussie bowlers as she returned with impressive figures of 5 for 29, including the wickets of Sophie Devine and Amy Satterthwaite. Belinda Vakarewa was brilliant upfront and she picked up a couple of wickets at an expense of 31 runs. Given that Elysse Perry did not feature in the match, she is unlikely to play the upcoming match. Although she was found training in the adjacent nets, she is unlikely to be fully fit and the management will not want to take a chance with her. Her absence certainly leaves a huge void in the Aussie lineup.
Given that Australia didn't have any Cricket to play before the warm-ups, Australia Women would be pretty happy with their performance. Rachel Haynes, Beth Mooney, and Sophie Molineux all were striking the ball well and that will certainly imbibe confidence among the pack in the first T20I of the series. The Aussies are an extremely well-balanced side and beating them is not going to be easy.
Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner, Sophie Molineux, Nicola Carey, Jess Jonassen, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt, Delissa Kimmince.
New Zealand Women could not have wanted a more desirable away tour than a trip across the Tasman. After a long break, the Kiwi Women would have wanted to play in home-like conditions, and other than Australia, there is perhaps no other place in the world that would offer similar conditions to play Cricket.
After arriving in Australia, the New Zealand Women had to undergo a 14-day quarantine, which would have helped them to get acquainted with the weather at Brisbane. In addition to that, the New Zealand Women were able to train for a few hours a day in their quarantine period.
In their only warm-up game, Against Australia XI, the New Zealand Women never looked like they were out of the game for such a long period. Even though they lost the match, their coach and the management would be pretty happy given the way they fared. The Kiwis got off to a decent start with Holly Huddlestone picking up Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning early in the innings. However, their other bowlers looked a bit off as even after a poor start, Australia managed to stitch partnerships and dictate terms. With the bat, New Zealand were a lot better as Sophie Devine and Amy Satterthwaite launched a brilliant counter-attack. Eventually, though, New Zealand lost the match by 11 runs. Even though the Kiwis had an unfavorable result, the margin of loss would instill a lot of belief among the team.
All in all, New Zealand Women did a decent job to almost match Australian Women in their only warm-up match. Sophie Devine and Amy Satterthwaite looked in sweet form and will be looking to carry that forward. They'd need to pull themselves up in the bowling department and if they can do that, Australia would have their work cut out.
Sophie Devine, Maddy Green, Suzie Bates, Amy Satterthwaite, Katey Martin, Amelia Kerr, Hayley Jensen, Lauren Down, Katie Perkins, Rosemary Mair, Lea Tahuhu.
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The two teams are returning to play Cricket after a long time and we expect both sides to make a lot of lapses in the three departments of the game. The only warm-up would have done a world of good for both sides to get back into a bit of rhythm. While there wasn't much in the game, Australia Women appeared to be a slightly better team on the day. Considering that and the fact that they will be having the home advantage, Australia go into the first T20I as the firm favorites to win the match.
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