World No.1 bowler Megan Schutt is a big key to Australia’s World T20 clash with New Zealand.Australia aim to use their inside knowledge in their crunch women’s World Twenty20 clash with New Zealand, with numerous close links between the two sides.
A win for Australia in Guyana on Wednesday (AEDT) will book their spot in the tournament’s semi-finals, and all but end New Zealand’s hopes after they lost to India in their first match.
The Aussies beat New Zealand 3-0 in a home T20 series recently, while the majority of the White Ferns’ big names play in the Women’s Big Bash League.
Most notably, New Zealand’s most dangerous two bats, Sophie Devine and world No.1 ranked Suzie Bates, both played for the Adelaide Strikers last summer alongside Australia’s strike bowler Megan Schutt.
“I think it makes for an interesting battle,” Schutt, who is ranked as the world’s No.1 T20 bowler, told AAP.
“I’d like to think I know them pretty well as players as well as off the field. Obviously we had a pretty good contest against them in the series just gone.
“I think I know Sophie pretty well to be honest, I’ve bowled a lot to her in the nets and I’ve probably been smoked over my head as many times as I have got her out.”
Australia’s history against the White Ferns is mixed at T20 level, given they’d lost eight of their last 11 against them before this summer’s winning whitewash.
New Zealand also have pace bowler Lea Tahuhu at their disposal, arguably the quickest in the WBBL with the Melbourne Renegades.
She’ll have a mammoth task ahead of her, given unbeaten Australia having racked up scores of 0-58 and 1-71 in the opening six-over powerplays in their first two games of the tournament against Pakistan and Ireland.
Alyssa Healy has been particularly dominant, whacking a combined 104 off 60 balls in the two innings alongside Beth Mooney at the top.
“I think any surface Lea bowls on she is going to have a bit of pace and bounce,” Australian spinner and Tahuhu’s Renegades teammate Sophie Molineux said.
“Midge (Healy) has been playing brilliantly at the top and Moons has been doing her job.
“Hopefully we can negate her pace and get through that powerplay and score a few off her. Lea does certainly charge in and hit a good length.”