WWC 2022 Semi-final Aus vs WI

WWC 2022 Semi-final Aus vs WI
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Australia allrounder says “we’ll probably need to make a decision in the next day or two”

Ellyse Perry’s availability for Australia’s World Cup semi-final against West Indies on March 30 remains uncertain two days out from the fixture, she confirmed before heading into her first training session in nearly a week.
Perry, who had suffered back spasms and had to go off the field during Australia’s win in the league-stage fixture against South Africa last Tuesday, said she hadn’t trained or “done anything cricket-wise” since.

“My back’s going pretty well,” she said. “Obviously, a couple of days still before the match, so I think we’ll still just keep playing that by ear, but [by] bearing in mind that we’ll probably need to make a decision in the next day or so.

“At this stage, it’s going really well. But obviously just need to make sure that I’m in the best possible spot to be able to contribute if I was to play, so I think we’ll do a couple more things at training in the next few days. If I get there, I do. Fingers crossed.”

During the South Africa match, she appeared to be hurt when tumbling over a boundary rope in a fielding attempt. She didn’t bat as Australia romped to a sixth consecutive win in the tournament.

Perry said on Monday she had never had back spasms before in her career, but she made clear the injury was “not hugely serious” and that it “definitely has been improving.” She added “there’s a pretty high percentage that I’ll be able to play at some point” and Australia’s practice session on Monday was likely to offer more insights on her recovery.

Before being sidelined from title favourites Australia’s last league game – against Bangladesh on Friday – Perry contributed with both bat and ball in her side’s undefeated campaign. Having shouldered new-ball responsibilities regularly, she took five wickets in six innings, and also scored 146 runs in five innings while being the Player of the Match in back-to-back matches against New Zealand and West Indies.

“They pose a great challenge because they’ve got a really good history of finals cricket in World Cup events”

Perry knows West Indies will be up to try and grab a spot in the final

Asked if she would consider missing the semi-final if that makes her a definite inclusion for the final, Perry said such an approach doesn’t sit well with the unpredictability of knockout matches.

“I think that is largely up to what’s best for the team and what our team management want to do,” Perry said. “But no, I don’t think you can have that approach to World Cup games, and semi-finals and finals. You just got to play each game, and that’s the most important thing at the time rather than casting your mind ahead to the next match and the final.

“West Indies would dearly love to be in that final on Sunday and they will do everything they can to beat us to get there. So it’s the most important match for us this Wednesday at the moment.”

Australia had routed West Indies when the two teams met in the league stage at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, the same venue as their semi-final.

But despite that result, and their unbeaten run so far, Perry said Australia would not let their guard down against a side they had defeated in the 2013 ODI World Cup final but lost to in the 2016 T20 World Cup equivalent.

“They’re a great side. They’re somewhat mercurial in the way that they play,” she said of West Indies. “But they’ve got some incredible weapons – particularly with the bat, [and] with the ball as well. Looking at the way that a lot of teams have played against us and bowled a lot of spin, I think Hayley Matthews has been particularly successful for the Windies with that in this tournament. We will sort of probably face a bit of that.

“Deandra Dottin is unbelievably potent with the bat up at the top, especially if she gets going… They pose a great challenge because they’ve got a really good history of finals cricket in World Cup events. They’ll be right up for it, and I kind of hope it’s really cold here in Wellington because that’s a lot different to the Bahamas. Whereas we get a bit cooler weather in Australia sometimes. That’ll be interesting.”

A hamstring injury during Australia’s last league fixture in the 2020 T20 World Cup on home soil had ruled Perry out of the semi-finals and the final. So regaining fitness to play this World Cup’s semi-final, she said, would mean a “tremendous amount” to her.

“But I think that [feeling] is not new unique to me; the whole team’s really excited about it,” she said. “This tournament’s been coming for a little while too, with the delay last year not being able to stage it. So it’s really exciting that we’re finally at this stage of the tournament, like we’ve been here for a long time as well if you include the quarantine that we had to do before starting out the campaign.

“It’s kind of the reason why you play I suppose at this level is to compete in big events and in big moments. So certainly the girls are really excited for that. It’s certainly great to be here. I’m really looking forward to it and seeing what we’re capable of.”

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha

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