Aussies being cautious with Mooney with eye on World Cup

Beth Mooney is expected to be fit for Australia’s second T20I against Pakistan on Thursday, as the hosts seek a series-sealing win in their first game in Hobart since 2016.

Mooney did not take her usual spot opening the batting in Australia’s chase of Pakistan’s 118 all out in Tuesday’s first T20I, with Ellyse Perry instead pairing with Meg Lanning at the top of the order.

Australia opted to take a cautious approach with the wicketkeeper-opener suffering from soreness after standing in for injured Alyssa Healy behind the stumps during the three ODIs – where she also scored 57no and 133 – and during the first innings of Tuesday’s game.

Breakthrough Moment: Mooney relives Ashes-winning knock

The Australians do not have a reserve wicketkeeper in their 14-player squad, and Healy will not be fit to return until next month’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.

“Moons has had a big workload, making runs and keeping wickets in this series and she just had a slight niggle,” Australia coach Shelley Nitschke said at Hobart airport on Wednesday.

“So we thought it was best if she slid down the order and just erred a little bit on the side of caution with that one, given the cricket that’s coming up.

“We expect her to be fit, she’ll be assessed on the day.”

Should Mooney be in doubt for Thursday’s second T20I at Blundstone Arena, Australia could look to fly in either NSW ‘keeper Tahlia Wilson, who was selected for the Governor-General’s XI earlier this month but was forced to withdraw from the game due to COVID, or Victorian Nicole Faltum, who ended up playing the GGXI game.

Queensland and Brisbane Heat wicketkeeper Georgia Redmayne, who was a traveling reserve for last year’s one-day World Cup in New Zealand, is unavailable after rupturing her Achilles tendon during the WBBL finals.

Despite the absence of both regular T20I openers, Australia reeled in their target of 119 with ease at North Sydney Ova, led by Perry’s unbeaten 57.

Schutt, Perry guide Aussies to big win over Pakistan

It is that flexibility that particularly pleased Nitschke, as Australia prepare for their bid at a third consecutive T20 World Cup title.

“We don’t have Alyssa Healy here at the moment, so we’ve had to change up our batting order up a little bit … people can play different roles, which is which is really pleasing to know going into the tournament,” she he said.

This will be the Aussie women’s first game in Hobart almost six years: they last played here against India in an ODI on February 7, 2016.

The sole Tasmanian in the squad, Heather Graham, is among those vying for a spot in the XI after carrying drinks in the first T20I, alongside Kim Garth and Georgia Wareham.

With Australia likely to take a cautious approach to workloads during the series as they look ahead to the T20 World Cup, some tweaks could be made to the bowling attack across the two remaining matches.

“I think they’re all in the frame every game and we’ll just reassess the conditions, reassess the opposition and what we might need,” Nitschke said.

CommBank T20I Series

Tuesday Jan 24: Australia won by eight wickets

Thursday Jan 26: Blundstone Arena, Hobart, 7:05pm

Sunday Jan 29: Manuka Oval, Canberra, 1.45pm

Buy #AUSvPAK T20 tickets here

Australia T20I squad: Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

Pakistan T20I squad: Bismah Maroof (c), Aiman ​​Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Fatima Sana, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz, Tuba Hassan

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