Australia look to ‘bounce’ back against Sri Lanka in Perth

Australia players celebrate a wicket. © ICC

Nobody thought Australia would crumble in front of India in the T20 World Cup opener. After a successful T20 Tri-series (Australia defeated India twice) earlier this month, the way Poonam Yadav spun a web around the hosts on Friday (February 21) is a serious concern for the Meg Lanning-led side as they face Sri Lanka in their second Group A encounter on Monday (February 24)  .

Chasing a par 132 to win in Sydney, the Australians started on a steady note reaching 55/2 in the ninth over with opener Alyssa Healy striking a half century. But after the wicketkeeper-batter was dismissed off Yadav, the whole Australian batting line-up fell like a heap of cards. Baring Healy and Ashleigh Gardner (34) towards the end, no other batter reached the double figures to be eventually bowled out for 115 – a performance which surprised many.

However, Lanning has insisted there’s no panic within her side despite having to come to grips with their T20 World Cup campaign becoming almost a knockout scenario. With three games left in the group stage, Australia need to win all to have a chance at the semifinals.

“Definitely not,” Lanning said. “It’s not ideal, we would have loved to have win against India. But it’s a long way to go in this tournament. I’ve never gone through a World Cup and not lost a group stage game. We’ve got that one out of the way early. It’s a knockout tournament (now) – we probably started that a little bit earlier than we would have liked.”

With the WACA pitch in Perth offering some extra pace and bounce, it is sure the likes of Megan Schutt, Elysse Perry and others would definitely like to hit the deck hard and bowl the opposition as soon as possible.

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On the other hand, Sri Lanka looked completely dependent on their captain Chamari Atapattu in their loss against New Zealand. The left-handed opener gave the islanders a rollicking start against New Zealand on Saturday (February 22) reaching 90 odd in 12 overs. But soon after Atapattu, the most experienced in the Lankan line-up, was out, they finished at 127/7 in 20 overs. It pretty well speaks about the fact that Atapattu acts as the only striking force in the Sri Lanka line-up and need to come out as a unit if they want to topple other teams in the group.

While their bowling looked average, Sri Lanka  were shaky in field dropping as many as three catches which included two of Sophie Devine

Squads:

Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham.

Sri Lanka: Chamari Atapattu (c), Harshitha Madavi, Anushka Sanjeewani, Hansima Karunaratne, Shashikala Siriwardene, Nilakshi de Silva, Ama Kanchana, Kavisha Dilhari, Udeshika Prabodhani, Achini Kulasuriya, Hasini Perera, Sathya Sandeepani, Umesha Thimashini, Sugandika Kumari, Dilani Manodara.