Cardiff: With the women’s Ashes won, Southern Stars coach Matthew Mott has turned his attention to fixing the team’s stuttering scoring in Monday’s series-ending match in Cardiff.
Across both Twenty20 matches no Stars batter has passed 30, which has been a big factor in their meagre scores of 8-122 and 7-107. Their batters have also allowed England’s new-ball bowlers, Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, to lock them down and not even rotate the strike, let alone find the boundary.
Coach Mott had held NSW’s ability to post only 8-121 in 2007-08 and then keep Queensland to 115 as the best Twenty20 stifling bowling performance he had been a part of, but said it was trumped by the Stars limiting England to 87 on a pitch he thought should have produced scores of about 140.
The coach lamented their batters had not realised more quickly they should have amended their tactics once Brunt and Shrubsole tied them down.
“It’s certainly something we’ve spoken about, trying to be a bit more aggressive at the top. We’ve picked out fielders regularly with our strong shots. We’ve probably lacked a bit of that subtlety, just dropping the hand, finding the gaps and maybe not going as hard,” he said. “That’s the challenge we’ve got ahead of us. We need to be a lot better than that. We really need to go out and play with freedom, but also rotate the strike a lot better.”
Off all the batters Jess Cameron is arguably the only one likely to be satisfied with her performances so far in the Twenty20 component of the series, having finished unbeaten at better than a run a ball in both matches.
The Stars are expected to field an unchanged team for the final match. That would result in leg-spinner Kristen Beams remaining on the sidelines, along with off-spinner Erin Osborne, fast-bowler Holly Ferling and reserve wicketkeeper Beth Mooney.
“I had a really good chat to ‘Beamsy’ and tried to put her in the picture as to where she’s at. She unfortunately got injured at the wrong time, and Grace Harris has come in and done well,” Mott said.
“With the balance of the team, we realised after game one we might’ve got that wrong, with too many spin options – and Rene Farrell really vindicated the decision to bring her back in. I can’t see any change in that line-up at this stage. We’d love to be able to play Beamsy and give her an opportunity, but we’ll pick what we think is the best XI for Cardiff.”
Even though the final match will have no bearing on the series result, beyond Australia’s winning margin, Mott said having the World Twenty20 early next year would ensure the match is greeted with customary intensity from the Stars players.
“We certainly celebrated that win and enjoyed it . . . but we’ll be trying to win it as much as the other games,” he said. “From individuals’ point of view, there’s plenty to play for with the World Cup coming up.”
ENGLAND (from): Charlotte Edwards (c), Heather Knight (vc), Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Dani Hazell, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Lauren Winfield, Danni Wyatt.
SOUTHERN STARS (from): Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell (vc), Kristen Beams, Jess Cameron, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani.
Jesse Hogan is covering the women’s Ashes with the support of Cricket Australia