Top guns fire as Aussies come to the party

Now that's more like it. Confident with the bat, decisive with the ball. Ruthless with the win.

Australia annihilated Bangladesh in their T20 World Cup clash at Manuka Oval on Thursday night. And with their big 86-run win, have set themselves up for a likely do-or-die clash against New Zealand at Junction Oval in Melbourne on Monday in their quest to make finals.

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Alyssa Healy threw off the shackles of any previous batting form slump to become the ICC Women's T20 World Cup's leading run-scorer to date, thanks to a wonderfully composed 83 runs.

Adding to her 51-run knock from game one against India, Healy has now hit 134 runs across Australia's three games.

In front of 5614 fans, Healy combined with Beth Mooney for a 151-run opening partnership - a new T20I record for the Australians - which was as entertaining as it was clinical.

What was impressive was that the duo didn't take it easy: at one point in the 10th over, they twice could have been forgiven for taking singles but instead pushed for twos to keep pushing up the run rate.

Beth mooney and Alyssa Healy forged an intense and productive partnership in Canberra.
Beth mooney and Alyssa Healy forged an intense and productive partnership in Canberra.

Healy set the tone with a four off the first ball and from there brought up her half-century in 26 deliveries, with seven fours and three whopping sixes.

Meanwhile Mooney patiently watched on, rotating the strike, hitting a couple of fours herself, and clapping her glove down on her bat applauding the shots of her partner.

That was until she decided to get involved in the action herself and after surviving a close stumping attempt, she brought up her own half century from 40 balls.

Healy found the boundary on ball one and was her aggressive best throughout.
Healy found the boundary on ball one and was her aggressive best throughout.

When Healy discarded her helmet late in the innings and pulled on the cap, you knew she was settled and it looked like the pair were simply enjoying themselves.

Back-to-back dropped catches from the Bangladeshi field did help their cause late, but finally Sanjida Islam held on to one and Healy's innings ended on 83 (53) off the bowling of captain Salma Khatun.

The damage was done and Bangladesh were given the hefty target of 190 for victory. Mooney, who's made only 12 runs in two games, enjoyed an unbeaten 81 (58).

Having never played Bangladesh before - in any format of the game, and not even getting a sneak peak at any of their players through the Women's Big Bash League, the Aussies scoured every piece of vision they could find to make sure they were fully prepared, such was the importance of this game for setting up the home side for the rest of their campaign.

Player of the Match Healy said the convincing victory would provide good momentum moving forward.

"It was good to play the way we wanted to and to get that result against a side that is really unknown to us," she said.

As well as her epic knock, Healy also took two catches behind the stumps.
As well as her epic knock, Healy also took two catches behind the stumps.

"As a batting group, we spoke about potentially not doing our job as well as we'd like ... hopefully that gives us momentum moving forward."

Healy said that momentum would carry through into Monday's crucial game against New Zealand, with a win over the Kiwis meaning the Aussies will qualify for the World Cup semi-final.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand had gone down swinging to India losing by four runs, which means that - assuming NZ beat Bangladesh on Saturday - whichever of the trans-Tasman rivals wins on Monday will reach the knock-out clash in Sydney on March 5.

This was the perfect entree into that game for the Aussies.

When it came to the field, they looked prepared.

Megan Schutt's swing was knocking over stumps, Jess Jonassen was taking diving catches, Annabel Sutherland was forcing knicks and having batters caught behind, Ellyse Perry was diving at the boundary rope and as a comparison at the end of six overs, Bangladesh were 3/27, where Australia had been 0/53.

Fargana Hoque Pinky put up a good fight 36 (35), but Bangladesh were never in the game.

The only possible downside was the sight of Perry coming off for the final overs after diving at the boundary line, with the team leadership set to be fielding questions about her ongoing shoulder troubles. 



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