We are really good problem solvers as a group: Beth Mooney

The last time Australia visited Ireland, Ellyse Perry opened the batting in the T20Is alongside Elyse Villani. The pair added a mammoth partnership of 121 runs in the final T20I of the three-match series before Grace Harris smashed the Irish bowling attack by scoring 39 runs off 21 balls. A collective bowling performance helped Australia sweep the series.

A lot has changed since 2015. For starters, Villani and Perry are not part of the playing XI for Australia. Villani played her final T20I in 2018 and has not featured for Australia since then, while the World Cup Champions are getting ready for life without one of their premier allrounders at least in T20Is. 

Beth Mooney, the stylish left-hander, has made that opening spot hers and her skills were on display against Ireland in the second match of the Tri-series. The partnership between her and captain Meg Lanning took Australia to an easy victory against the hosts on Sunday (July 17). Reflecting on that partnership of 68 runs the southpaw credited her captain for her support. 

“We got off to a pretty good start and then slowed down a bit, but Meg and I had a great partnership at the back end,” Mooney said. 

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Mooney was playing her first T20I match since the multi-format series against India as she had to miss the T20I leg of the last Ashes series due to a broken jaw. When asked about the changes she had to make from the ODIs where she bats down the order for Australia, Mooney provided insights into her philosophy of batting in the shortest format. 

 “You don’t want to be chewing up too many balls in T20 cricket, leaving your teammates with a lot fewer balls with a lot of work to do. For me, it’s about making sure I have got really good intent, trying to hit the ball hard along the ground early, and opening up the field. Then knowing what my good risks are and what my bad risks are. And when to use them,” added the 28-year-old.

Mooney was all praise for Australia’s bowling attack, that had to turn up for the Tri-series with just two training sessions under its belt. “We probably didn’t have as much time as we would have liked, with only two sessions before getting stuck into the games. But at the same time, you know, this is a great opportunity for us to adjust and adapt on the fly. We are really good problem solvers as a group. Going into the Commonwealth Games, it’s really important for us to go out there and do it on the fly.”

Australian bowlers struggled with their line and lengths in the first match of the series against Pakistan but made a positive recovery against the hosts. The Aussie bowlers were guilty of conceding 28 extras in just eight overs against Pakistan, but Mooney appreciated the resilience of the bowling unit.

“I thought the bowlers did an outstanding job in the conditions in front of them. They are a little bit different from what was in front of us yesterday, but I thought we adapted really well. Bowlers did an outstanding job adjusting to that and holding their lines and making it really difficult for the batters to score,” she said.

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Australia restricted Ireland to 99 for eight in the first innings, courtesy of a second consecutive three-wicket haul by Alana King. The leg-spinner took three wickets in an over against Pakistan before the match was abandoned due to rain. She returned to the Bready Cricket Club on Sunday to add another three-wicket haul to her name. Mooney, who represents Perth Scorchers in the Women’s Big Bash League alongside King (WBBL), applauded her teammate’s efforts at the international level.

“She is just an outstanding player,” Mooney said in appreciation of the leggie. “She has been waiting in the wings for a long time and she absolutely grabbed the opportunity. She is a bit of a live wire in the group and loves the chat. She has some great energy about her, which is what we are after when people come into this group.”

Having cruised to a comfortable victory in the second T20I of the series, Australia will face Pakistan and Ireland one more time, before heading out to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games. Their aim is to earn the Gold Medal at the event. With dominant display like the one against Ireland, the Lanning-led side is showing no signs of slowing down.