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Women’s T20 World Cup: Rest of the world closing the gap on Australia : Ashleigh Gardner

Paarl (South Africa) : Australia’s off-spin all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner insists the gap between the defending champions and other teams is closing despite their convincing 97-run win over New Zealand to open their 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup on a great note.

Ashleigh picked 5/12 to help Australia bowl out New Zealand for just 76 to secure a 97-run victory at Boland Park. It was New Zealand’s heaviest-ever defeat in T20Is and the third biggest margin of victory in the history of the tournament.

“As a group we always speak about (the gap), but teams are getting better now and we have to step up in every game. You just have to look at the way Ellyse and Alyssa batted and grinded through when conditions weren’t easy.”

“We fought hard for the win and it just shows how we can adapt really quickly. We had a simple mindset of keeping the stumps in play and we were pretty comprehensive out there.”

“Conditions weren’t friendly to batters out there and you had to be really calculated in the risks that we took. We were confident coming in that we had the bowlers to defend it.

We probably adapted a bit quicker than New Zealand and took the more calculated risks when they were on offer,” she said in the post-match press conference.

Ashleigh, the top-ranked all-rounder in women’s T20I cricket, took 5/12 in a stunning spell – only her second five-wicket haul in any format of the game.

Asked about what was going in her mind while taking the five-fer, she said, “I didn’t bowl a lot in this format and I’m really trying to take that with two hands and every opportunity that I get to try and put my team in a winning position but ultimately just try and bowl my best ball over and over again.”

“I was lucky enough to take five wickets and certainly something that I’ll cherish forever and something that I’m super proud of but ultimately, I was just more happy that we got the win early within this tournament and trying to take that momentum because the last World Cup we obviously started with a loss (in 2020).

So it’s nice to be on the other end and actually going away with a win from the first game.” Australia skipper Meg Lanning lauded Ashleigh for making improvements to her off-spin bowling.

“She’s been bowling really well for a while now and she’s become a very reliable bowler for me to go to in any conditions. She’s worked really hard to get to this point so it’s great that she’s getting some rewards.”



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