Australian women's all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner has backed her side's top order to produce when it matters with crunch time looming in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Women's T20 World Cup.
The hosts scooped a statement victory in a tri-series with India and England but didn’t have it all their own way as they prepare to defend their world title on home soil.
A lean run for star wicketkeeper-batwoman Alyssa Healy - four single-digit scores her worst slump since 2013 - is a cause for concern but Gardner insisted that her side would stick to their gung-ho approach when the stakes are high.
“We play an attacking brand of cricket, especially myself and Midge (Healy), and we don't do so well when we move away from that,” the ICC press release quoted the 22-year-old as saying to media.
“We know we have the backing of our staff and team-mates and when it doesn't come off, we know to still play our natural way. Sometimes that works well and that's when we make big scores and people have good personal success. Sometimes that works well and that's when we make big scores and people have good personal success," she added.
“There’s a lot more to come from us with the bat. Beth Mooney has done really well at the top, but the batters around her haven't done amazingly. That's something we can improve on a little bit. I don't think there's too much pressure, but Midge is itching to score runs and hopefully the World Cup is when she's going to turn things around and start making some runs for herself and the team," Gardner further said.
Australia will kickstart their Women's T20 World Cup campaign against India at Sydney Showground Stadium on February 21. They are also scheduled to play two warm-up matches against West Indies in Brisbane on Saturday and South Africa in Adelaide on February 18.
The 10-team mega tournament is capturing the attention of the Australian public, with the prospect of the final at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 8 firing the imagination.