After the win, Gardner said the victory ranked “pretty high” on Australia’s unmatched list of triumphs.
“I think at the ten-over mark in India’s batting innings, everyone had probably written us off, but I think that just shows our character within our side and that’s why the best teams win in those types of positions,” she said.
“What we speak about is when our backs are up against the wall, we always try and find a way, and today we probably had no right to win at one point there. They were cruising and then we found a way to get some wickets and ultimately came out on top.”
India, on the other hand, squandered their chances with crucial drops of Beth Mooney and Meg Lanning, Australia’s two biggest run-scorers on this occasion, as well as leaking runs through numerous misfields and overthrows.
“We showed our class today in the field and we always speak about as a group being the best fielding team in the world, and I think today really showed that,” Gardner said. “Ellyse Perry was elite on the boundary. Whether it’s dropped catches, [or] missed opportunities in the field, those ultimately add up to quite a lot of runs and I think we took those moments when we really needed to.
“I certainly think Pez is probably the blueprint for our side going forward – certainly on the boundary. At the end of the day, that could have been the difference between us and them.”
Gardner, who had also contributed an excellent 31 off 18 balls with the bat, revealed it was no accident that Australia are so strong in the field.
“We have KPIs and there are markers that show us whether we’re positive or negative in the field,” she said. “So there’s a pretty clear indication of how we’ve fielded. We just know how to push each other. In our training sessions, there are always really high-pressure situations, and as athletes, we all push each other – whether it’s on the field or off the field, whether it’s in the gym, running.
“That’s something we really pride ourselves on is being fit, being strong, and ultimately that’s one of the things that has an impact in the field.”
“The Australian side, they always field very well; and from our side, we made some mistakes,” Harmanpreet said. “But again, we have to just learn [from] whatever mistakes we have made. But obviously, the Australian side is better than us. They always field well, and today also, after I got out, their body language completely changed. The way they stopped two-three boundaries, that also made a huge difference.”
“Having such a quality domestic set-up, the WBBL, [and] some of the best international players coming over every year plays a significant part”
Jess Jonassen on what helps Australia compete under pressure
Gardner, Jonassen and Mooney all said that competing under pressure in franchise tournaments such as their own WBBL and England’s much-newer Hundred had contributed to Australia’s strength, which is encouraging for India ahead of their inaugural WPL season, which starts next month.
“It probably comes back to the exposure of those sorts of situations,” Jonassen said. “Having such a quality domestic set-up, having the WBBL, having some of the best international players coming over every year – that plays a significant part. Then we’re almost primed for those same situations on the international stage.
“We’ve had a few young players making debuts in different formats this season as well that have come from those competitions, and we’re always looking to try and improve, and try and push each other to that next level and try and get the most out of each and every person because ultimately we know if we can gain an extra one or two percent individually, then the team’s collectively going to be better off.”
“I had to get her to repeat it because I had walked about ten laps after training yesterday, sort of getting my head around how I would mentally deal with if I missed out again,” Jonassen said. “I’ve got my partner and my mum who have flown over, so I was pretty disappointed up until today that I wasn’t able to play a game in front of them. Hopefully one more and it’s another successful one.”
One more will mean a contest for the trophy against either hosts South Africa or England. Besides India at this World Cup, only England have looked capable of threatening Australia. Whoever it is will need to do more than just threaten, as India found out.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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