"We've got to keep it in perspective that we won 13 games in a row" says Mott

Women's CricZone Staff
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"I must admit we were surprised to be No.1" says Mott ahead of Australia's series

Matthew Mott. ©ICC

Australia came into the World T20 as hot favourites. They were riding on the momentum of two series clean sweeps heading into the tournament and looked to be in good touch, winning their first three matches of the tournament. Their last match of the group stage was against India and it would determine who qualified at the top of the table. India won the match in a convincing manner, meaning Australia now have to play West Indies in the semi-finals.

About his teams loss to India, coach Matthew Mott told Cricket Australia, "I thought we came up against a very good cricket team who played really well. They had a match winning partnership (between Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana) and they batted extremely well. I think we were slow to react initially. But, I was really pleased with the resilience we showed at the back end. I thought they were capable of making 190+, which would have been disappointing but, we held our nerve, pulled it back really well and changed our pace a little bit more. Showed a bit of game awareness and hung in there. With the bat, we needed to get off to a good start. I think we were going okay then, lost two wickets in very quick succession, which sort of stifled things. They bowled really well, took the pace off and our innings never really got going. Disappointing result but, they played well. For us not to have our best game. Better to have it now then in the semi-final."

India has proved troublesome for Australia in the past, defeating them in the semi-finals of the World Cup last year. When asked how the team plans to ensure they do not make the same mistakes they made in this match, Mott replied, "We've got to keep it in perspective that we won 13 games in a row. The more you win, the closer you get to a loss so, we'll have a meeting to discuss how to go about it today and yesterday was a different day, so we'll get our head around that and make sure we're ready to play in the semi-final."

As far as where Australia was found lacking in that match, Mott said "The whole batting unit will be disappointed with that. I think we didn't execute any of the stuff we talk about, in terms of looking for a boundary an over, turning the strike over. There were close to 50 dot balls so that's something we have to rectify. We know that they were going to take the pace off and they set good fields to it. We spoke about not getting bowed down by too many dots and I think we did. That puts pressure and the big shots come out. If we play India again at some point, it's going back to the basics, making sure we score off a high percentage of balls and putting the bad balls away. Obviously, one of our in-form batters (Alyssa Healy) was not at the top of the order. I was really pleased that no one seemed to over react to that. (Elyse) Villani's an outstanding opener in her own right and we covered things really well. It wasn't our day with the bat. It was a very chaseable score. I think our bowlers did well at the end to give us something that we could chase down."

"We've had a bad day," continued Mott. "You can look at it too much or you can float on and say let's just make sure we're better next time. I think as a batting unit we've had a pretty good run in T20. We're not going to change our process too much. Fine-tune our execution, make sure we're aware of getting on and off strike quickly, use our left and right hand batters really well, which I didn't think we did as well as we could've. That's the way it goes.

Mott spoke of his team bouncing back despite the disappointed. He also spoke of how, in case of rain, the table topping team goes through to the finals and how much his side would have loved to have that advantage, commenting, "We've got to move on really quickly. We're in a semi-final in a few days time. We would have loved to have won today. We would've loved to control our own destiny in the finals, if there's rain. The fact of the matter is, if we get on, we're just playing another semi-final team. We've done the hard yards to get ourselves in position in the semi-final and final. It's disappointing but its the game of cricket."

Healy was benched after colliding with Megan Schutt as both ran in to take a catch. She hit her head on the field and suffered a minor concussion. On what needs to be done to get her back on field, Mott said, "They'll be a stringent return-to-play protocol she'll have to go through. The doctor will make sure we know very clearly what she needs to get through, what benchmarks she has to reach and monitor is as. She was quite groggy. We're not sure of the full extent of it but, we will know very clearly. In Australia, I think we're leading the way with concussion in cricket. From our point of view, it's something the ICC need to look into as well; whether they follow what we're doing in Australia. Through no fault of our own, we lost a key player and we need to take head injuries seriously, from a global point of view."

As for Australia's ability to reset and bounce back before the next match, Mott asserted, "We're very good. We all understand that T20 is quite a fickle game. We were just one partnership away from putting some pressure on that chase. If you look at their batting innings, they only had two scorers. The rest didn't really contribute either. If we had just cracked it open and got that little partnership there, from probably overs seven to 14, we just didn't get our momentum. We've got enough to do that. We're disappointed with that today but, we're also fully aware that we're going in different conditions now. We're playing a must-win semi-final and our players will be ready to go."

The four qualified teams; Australia, India, England and West Indies now move to Antigua for the knockout stage of the ICC Women's World Twenty-20. When asked if the team knows what sort of conditions they're heading into, Mott replied, "No, not really. We get to train there a few days before hand so, we'll have a good look but, I think everyone's guessing at this stage. I'd imagine, from past, there's a bit more pace and bounce in the wicket and hopefully that suits the way we play."

"We always go through it (playing 11)," explained Mott. Against India, Georgia Wareham was benched to make room for debutant pacer Tayla Vlaeminck. "See who's going to be best to take them on and their batting line-up. It was a tough call leaving Georgia out. I think she's bowled extremely well but, we thought pace upfront might do the job. Tayla bowled exceptionally well. In hindsight, maybe we could have squeezed an over or two out of her. But, it wasn't the way it was going in the middle phase when they were going pretty hard to take the pace off."

Analyzing whether the decision to play Vlaeminck was the right one, Mott elaborated, "You always think of things like that. I don't think so. We wouldn't have gone to bowler we picked in the middle period anyway. I thought Tayla really set the tone early. She had a really good impact and we certainly matched her up with certain players in their team. We would definitely consider her again, she looked really good for us and she's different. I think already, she's one of the fastest bowlers in the world. She bowls a heavy ball and a hard ball. She'll continue to vie for selection. She also took a great catch so, she had a pretty good day out."

On Wareham's chances of making her way back into the Playing 11, Mott said, "We like playing a leggie (leg-spinner). We agonized over that. There was no one we could really leave out and the feedback to her was you've done absolutely nothing wrong. For India, we just feel like this is the way to go. She took it in her stride and she's back in contention in the next game."

Australia will now face hosts and defending champions West Indies in the semi-finals on November 23.