Sthalekar rates win 'pretty high' in her career
After winning successive tight finishes against England, in the World Twenty20 final and today in the World Cup, Lisa Sthalekar feels Australia have done some "damage" to their traditional rivals on the psychological front. England had fallen short by four runs in Colombo; the margin was two runs in Mumbai, a win the veteran Sthalekar ranked "pretty high" among victories she's been involved in.
"We'd like to believe we've done a bit of damage in the tight finish here and the World Twenty20 victory," Sthalekar said. "I've been fortunate enough to play in a few matches where it's been tight but in a World Cup against the English girls, to win with such a tight finish, it was really important for us as a team, building momentum through to the World Cup. And that probably ranks pretty high."
England have never beaten Australia in an ODI on neutral territory. Today's defeat was their 14th. Their captain Charlotte Edwards, though, did not think the narrow losses in the World Twenty20 final and today meant Australia had gained any psychological advantage. Edwards said England had a "great record" against Australia but was disappointed with her batsmen's failure to chase 148.
"Two poor decisions [lbws against her and Laura Marsh] definitely doesn't help when you are opening and then in a key partnership," Edwards said. "There was also some poor shot selection through our middle order. Nos. 3, 5, 6 and 7 played 12 balls between them. When you are in a position where you are three down you need to stand up. They didn't today."
There was no reason to fret over the batsmen, though, according to Edwards, who backed her middle order, especially the talented Sarah Taylor, to come good. Taylor has made 35, 0 and 0 so far. "Individually they have all stood up at times. Collectively maybe we haven't batted as well. I think India is the only game we have collectively batted as we would have liked to. So yes, our bowling is brilliant, our batting is something that we need to improve on but I am not worried.
"Sarah Taylor hasn't scored runs in the competition so far but she is dangerous and hopefully there are big things to come from her so I am not too concerned. She got a good ball the other day. Sarah normally hits them through the covers. I have no doubt she is too good a player to go through too many games without scoring so hopefully with two big games to come she will fire for us."
The England bowling gave no headaches to their captain as they routed Australia for 147 with sustained, controlled swing and seam, especially from Anya Shrubsole. It drew praise from the opposition, with both Australia captain Jodie Fields and Sthalekar lauding the efforts of the England attack. "The English bowlers bowled really well," Sthalekar said. "You had Anya who was hooping them in. The ball with which she got Jess Cameron was pretty spectacular and then you had Katherine Brunt who was going the other way as well. We've got bowlers who do similar things as well and the conditions here really helped the swing bowlers early."
Australia now have six points and are in a pretty safe position in the Super Six while England, with two points, would be under pressure to win both their remaining games against South Africa and New Zealand.
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo