Prior to the World Cup, I predicted Bangladesh would beat South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the group stages, and possibly clinch fourth.
The Southern Stars completed the clean sweep of its T20 series against New Zealand at Manuka Oval in Canberra on Friday night.
After struggling in recent times against the White Ferns, the series win was the ideal warm-up for the World T20 tournament in the Caribbean in November.
So, what did we learn about the Australian team during this series?
Alyssa Healy is a star
If you don’t know about Alyssa Healy now, you soon will. Batting at the top of the order, she skittled New Zealand’s chances in Games 2 and 3, with scores of 57 (off 41 balls) and 67 (off 44 balls) respectively.
With Beth Mooney finding some form in Canberra, this opening combination could go a long way towards winning the World Cup.
Australia’s batting line-up is long
Remember Ellyse Perry? You know, the one who got 200 against England in the one-off test last summer? She bats at seven for this team and wasn’t required to take strike in any of the matches.
The batting order seems really well balanced, with the big hitters at the top of the order backed up by Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes. As we saw at North Sydney Oval, if the top four don’t fire, Lanning and Haynes can pick up the pieces.
Sophie Molineux should be locked in the side
Sophie Molineux came into the side with Jess Jonassen sidelined with a knee injury. On the slower wickets in the West Indies, she should retain her spot. Her left arm finger spin earned her 4 wickets at a low average run rate, highlighted by her 3 for 11 in Canberra off her 4 overs.
Australia’s pace attack looks in good order
Both Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry starred with the ball, taking 4 wickets and 6 wickets respectively, with Schutt desperately unlucky not to take a wicket or two in Canberra after what was a chaotic first over. Schutt’s ability to get the ball to swing in could work well for her on the Caribbean pitches.
Fielding needs to improve
Leaving aside Rachael Hayne’s stunning one handed grab in Canberra, which will no doubt be one of the catches off the summer, the Southern Stars fielding was not up to scratch. The dropped catch in the first over in Canberra, caused by confusion between Lanning and Mooney, was symptomatic of below average fielding throughout the series.
This has been identified as an area for improvement and the Australians can expect plenty of fielding drills in coming weeks.
Women’s cricket is on the rise
Cricket Australia should be commended for arranging an international series so early this year. In the short break between the end of winter sport and the start of the men’s cricket internationals, this T20 series has received plenty of media coverage.
The new TV coverage combination of Fox Cricket and Channel 7 also seems to be working so far, with “the slot” my personal favourite. Most WBBL games this season are stand alone fixtures this summer, so women’s cricket does have an opportunity so take another step forward.