Momentum will be key for Australia as they seek to complete a Commonwealth Games group stage unbeaten against Pakistan in Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Australia’s place in the semi-finals is secure, but they can secure top spot in Group A with a win over Pakistan, a side they have never lost against in any format.
They will then face either England or New Zealand in Saturday’s semi-final for a place in the gold medal game; the two teams have also qualified for the knockout stage but will face off on Thursday night to determine who will claim top spot in Group B.
“Going into what’s going to be quite an eventful finals weekend with the semi-finals and back-to-back medal matches, it’s hugely important (to have momentum),” Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath told cricket.com.au.
“Once we get to those finals, the round matches are no longer relevant and it’s just whoever comes up on the day.
“Whichever four teams are there, there will be quality teams, and anyone can beat anyone on the day, with some teams having extremely dangerous players.
“We have to be ready.
“We’re still tweaking a bit. Every game we play, we strive to improve a bit… (but) we seem to be getting better and better with every game.”
Australia met Pakistan twice in the recent T20 tri-series in Ireland but both matches were called off before a result could be achieved.
Australia’s attack limited Pakistan to 8-94 in the second of those encounters and had them 6-56 after eight overs when rain interrupted the first, but their batters have yet to see the match well. heavy attack from Pakistan.
“They have quality bowlers, they’re definitely heavy, but a couple of their crimpers are really handy as well,” McGrath said.
“So we’ll have to be at our best…we certainly talked about some plans, but at the same time we also talked about just playing to our strengths and supporting our own games.”
McGrath has had little time in the middle since Australia kicked off their UK tour; she hit a brilliant 70 of 40 deliveries against Ireland in the tri-series, but her only other chance came in the Commonwealth Games opener against India, when she started brilliantly with three limits before being superbly played by Renuka Singh Thakur for 14.
Meanwhile, the all-rounder feels she is finding the rhythm with the ball after taking 3-13 against Barbados after struggling to find her radar during the Irish leg of the tour.
“It was strange, we’ve already played six games and I’ve only had to beat two, I haven’t played much, but that’s the best thing about being an all-around player, wherever I can contribute, I will do my best for the team,” she said.
“I was happy (with my bowling) in the last game, before that I probably hadn’t played really well.
“I struggled to find my length and struggled for consistency and was a bit disappointed.
“So I’ve definitely taken some confidence and momentum out of this game and hopefully going forward I can be a bit more consistent and take a few more wickets.”
Commonwealth Games 2022
The Australian team: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda- Jade Wellington
See all Commonwealth Games cricket teams here
Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan, Barbados
Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka
July 31 : Australia beat Barbados by nine wickets
Semi-finals: August 6, 11:00 a.m. local time (8:00 p.m. AEST) and 6:00 p.m. local time (3:00 a.m. August 7 AEST)
Bronze Medal Game: August 7, 10:00 a.m. local time (7:00 p.m. AEST)
Gold Medal Game: August 7, 5:00 p.m. local time (2:00 a.m. Aug. 8 AEST)
All matches played at Edgbaston Stadium