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Lanning: Injured Perry ruled out of Australia's World Cup semi-final

The allrounder suffered back spasms last Tuesday and "ran out of time to prove her fitness" for the knockout against West Indies

Annesha Ghosh
Annesha Ghosh
Ellyse Perry has been ruled out of Australia's 2022 ODI World Cup semi-final against West Indies scheduled for Wednesday in Wellington. Meg Lanning, the Australia captain, confirmed Perry's unavailability and said the allrounder, who suffered back spasms in the league game against South Africa a week ago, "unfortunately, just ran out of time to prove her fitness".
"We'll go in without her tomorrow and we'll keep assessing her if we are to progress in the tournament," Lanning said on match eve. "So, unfortunate for her and the team, obviously, a big blow but we feel like we've got some good depth to be able to cover it and we're going to have to do that tomorrow."
Lanning said Australia were optimistic about Perry recovering in time for the final in Christchurch on April 3, should they advance, but stressed that they were focused on putting their best foot forward in the semi-final with the personnel available at their disposal.
"Look, she hasn't done a lot [of training] over the past week, to be fair. She batted a little bit in the nets yesterday and felt okay, but she certainly just wasn't in a position, unfortunately, to be able to perform at the level needed tomorrow," Lanning said. "So, that was why we've made the call on that today.
"But, to be honest, we haven't looked too far ahead. We will keep assessing her as we go if we are to progress but the team and the squad is very focused on tomorrow and making sure that we're putting out our best game because everything else is is irrelevant, to be honest.
"I'm sure there's work going on in the background to try and get her up to play if we were to get through but from a playing-group perspective and coaching staff, we're just really focused on tomorrow and the players that are going to be able to go out there and perform."
This is the second World Cup semi-final on the trot Perry will miss, having sat out the 2020 T20 World Cup semi-final and the final on home soil through a hamstring injury sustained in eventual champions Australia's last league fixture.
During the South Africa match in the ongoing World Cup, she appeared to be hurt when tumbling over the boundary rope in a fielding attempt. She went off the field and 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" in the knockouts.
Before being sidelined from 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 fixtures against New Zealand and West Indies.
With Perry sidelined, pace-bowling allrounder Annabel Sutherland, who had replaced Perry against Bangladesh in what is her first ODI World Cup, is likely to retain her spot. Sutherland, 20, had picked 1 for 22 and scored 26 vital unbeaten runs in that game.
"I thought Annabel played extremely well last game under pressure as well," Lanning said. "It wasn't just an easy time to come out and bat for her and for someone so young to be able to do that gives the group a lot of confidence. We've spoken a lot about the depth that we've got within our squad and I guess now we're going to be tested with it.
"So, I guess, that's what it comes down to: new players stepping up in different situations and [Australia] not relying on one or two players. So that gives me a lot of confidence; it gives the team a lot of confidence that someone like Annabel could come into the team and make an impact straightaway, so hopefully she can do it again tomorrow."

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