AN intense pre-tournament training camp in Sri Lanka has Australia’s women’s cricket team primed to defend their Twenty20 title later this month.
Big shot:Leah Poulton will be an important member of Australia’s Twenty20 world cup defence. Picture: Ken Irwi
Australia spent 10 days in Sri Lanka playing practice matches against New Zealand, Sri Lanka and an under-19 men’s Sri Lankan team in a bid to acclimatise to the pitch conditions last month. The squad — which features St George Sutherland Slayers duo Leah Poulton and Erin Osborne — will leave for the tournament on Thursday.
With only a handful of players having played in Sri Lanka previously, Poulton said the pre-tournament hit out was a good opportunity for her teammates to adapt to the conditions.
“You can’t beat training and playing on those wickets,” Poulton said.
“I was one of the lucky ones who had been there before but it had been six years since I’d been there. Our wicket had a lot of spin.”
She scored 41 in one match before retiring in a bid to get her teammates some much needed match play.
Poulton was part of Australia’s last world cup win against New Zealand in 2010.
Batting at No. 3 she top-scored for Australia in the final with 20.
“I’m not sure if we are favourites,” Poulton said. “The nature of Twenty20 cricket you have to play well each game.”
Australia are grouped alongside England, India and Pakistan with only the top two teams progressing to the next stage of the tournament.
The competition starts a busy season for Poulton who will be part of the NSW Breakers team aiming for an eighth consecutive 50-over title before preparing for a 50-over world cup in India, in February.
■ Sutherland’s Steven Smith smashed a match-winning 99 not out from 88 balls to lead NSW to a first-up Ryobi One-Day Cup win against Western Australia on Sunday.
Smith combined with St George’s Moises Henriques (78 from 45) to score 126 runs for the fifth wicket. Trent Copeland (1-29) helped NSW to a 27 run win.
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