If it wasn’t for a tie with India last November, Australia would be carrying a 22-match T20 winning streak into Friday morning’s T20 World Cup semi-final.
That tie, in a super over no less, last December was the only match Australia didn’t win in 2022 and the only non-victory since the defending World Cup champ’s last defeat in March 2021.
India have been closer to beating Australia than any other team in that time, and that five-match series late last year looms large in the minds of the players ahead of a semi-final showdown between the two teams.
The bulk of recent exposure to each other gives Australia confidence in planning for their push to make the final again and a three-peat of World Cup wins.
“It’s probably a good thing if we come up against India because we played them not that long ago,” Australian seamer Megan Schutt said.
“I feel like both teams know each other inside out and have had some really good competition recently.
“It will be a cracking semi.”
India defeated Australia in the opening match of the 2020 World Cup before the Aussies rallied to take out the tournament, again against the Indians, at the MCG.
Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur also suggested recent exposure in that five-match series helped them identify how to beat the Australians.
“I think that series gave us a lot of confidence, you know, the brand of cricket we played in that particular series was something which gave us a lot of confidence,” she said.
“And now we know them very well. We played five games back-to-back and then one practice game, we know, their strength, their weakness, we know what we have to do.”
Schutt has starred on the low, slow decks of the World Cup in South Africa, her eight wickets in Australia’s four winning pool matches the most for her team, and the tournament, averaging under 10 per wicket too.
But the South Australian said she was “not 100 per cent sold that they’re coming out good”, putting a premium on more work ahead of the semi-final as the teams move to the Newlands ground at Cape Town.
“But I feel like my second overs are coming out well,” she said.
“Some days it has been swinging, it‘s been a little bit inconsistent, which is kind of a struggle, you don’t know really where to start the ball.
“The conditions have been a little bit different, the pitches have been not as favourable as I’d thought they’d be, but at the same time, there’s been a little bit of juice for some change-ups, which has been good.”
Alyssa Healy is set to return for the semi-final after missing Australia’s win over South Africa with quad soreness.