The start of the International summer began at my second home, the SCG. With the majority of the T20 and Rosebowl Series being played in Sydney the group met a few days prior to the first game, which gave us a chance to be put through our paces.
Everyone soon slotted back into the touring way of life – waking up, peeing into a cup, weighing in and training hard. For me being on tour is a rare opportunity to catch up on some sleep, relax and write this blog.
The only addition to our regular tour preparation was a casual morning tea at Admiralty house hosted by Her Excellency Quentin Bryce. Along with both teams, there were a number of In2Cricketers in attendance playing on a pitch that had been mowed into the croquet lawn at the front of the house. Michael Bryce was kind enough to give Erin Osborne and I a personally guided tour of his residence, explaining the historical elements of all the paintings and furniture that decorated this heritage house. The only issue was that we managed to rejoin the rest of the group whilst the Governor General was addressing the group -whoops!!
The first three of our T20’s were played at North Sydney Oval with ABC again covering these games. The first match was particularly special as Jessica Jonassen made her debut with Australia. After wining the toss, we headed into the field and at the completion of their innings, the Kiwi’s had posted a competitive total of 145. Our chase didn’t start well with the loss of a few early wickets, but then Jessica Cameron arrived at the crease and slog swept her way to an impressive 59. Unfortunately both Jess and Alex got out in consecutive deliveries and when Sarah Coyte mistook me for Usain Bolt (I was run out) it was left to Jonassen and Coyte to bring the team home in the final over. It was a great team victory even though we didn’t play as well as we would have liked, but most importantly it meant that we had started the series with a win.
With a short turn around between games, our 2nd T20 was met with overcast conditions. We lost the toss this time and we were sent in to bat. A solid start by our openers allowed the middle order to try and find the boundary. I was lucky enough to be in a good partnership with Alex and managed to compile my maiden 50 in T20 cricket. On a slow outfield we posted 128 but we knew that hard work would be required in the field if we were going to post our second win.
As a spinner you occasionally get thrown the ball in the first 6 overs of a T20, but my job was made easy as Julie Hunter picked up 2 wickets in her first 2 overs and I managed to do the same. From there the bowlers continued to apply pressure to the Kiwi’s batting order, and it was great to be able to dominate, bowling them out for 69 runs.
Our third and final T20 at North Sydney was the perfect Sunday afternoon. With the crowd rolling in and settling on the hill, the atmosphere was spectacular. Therefore it was without hesitation that when we won the toss we elected to bat. Throughout our innings there were a number of small partnerships built in and around Alex (41) and with some powerful hitting in the final overs, we finished with 134.
The Kiwi’s run chase again commenced with the loss of some early wickets, however they were able to consolidate through the middle. Despite this, the required run rate began increasing steadily at which point, wickets started to tumble. Fighting all the way, the Kiwi’s managed to clear the boundary on several occasions, however, we always felt that there was enough difference between the run required and the amount of balls left. Increasing scoreboard pressure led to some desperate running between the wickets, but we were equal to the challenge. We were able to hit the stumps on more than one occasion, and for me, it was the first time after a whole domestic season of trying. In addition to this feat, I managed to pick up my best figures in an International T20 of 4/18.
After three T20’s we have walked away with 3 wins, giving us the T20 trophy even though we still have 2 more matches to complete. This is a great result for us, as in the past we have struggled to win matches against the Kiwi’s in this format. A great start with everyone in the team contributing!
Apart from the cricket there hasn’t been that much going on, but here are few highlights – a welcome rest day where Alyssa Healy and I hit a few golf balls, Julie Hunter walking straight past the group as we had a team meeting in Thai only to then try and call the whole team who had their phones on silent and finally getting Sharon Millanta to try Indian!
Stay tuned for the Rosebowl Series and the final two T20’s that will be curtain raisers to the men’s T20 matches.