Sydney, Feb 21 | Alyssa Healy admitted that Australia walked into Poonam Yadavs trap as the leg-spinner inspired India to a 17-run victory in the ICC Womens T20 World Cup opener here on Friday.
Poonam had the hosts in a spin from her first over, starting with stock leg-spinners before unfurling wicked wrong-uns to finish with a match-winning 4/19.
Wicketkeeper-batswoman Healy, who perished off Poonam’s fifth ball, acknowledged that she and her side fell hook, line and sinker to the Indian spinner’s plan.
Healy said: “We didn’t chase as smartly as we have done in the past. Full credit to Poonam, she bowled quite cleverly tonight.
“She bowled that first over as a regulation leg-spinner and then slowed it up, so we probably didn’t adapt to that well enough.
“We just didn’t play her well and lost our way in the middle. You’re not going to chase down a total too many times if only two batters get out of double figures.
“We couldn’t build a partnership, and that’s probably where we fell away. Most of the wickets that fell were batters playing across the line, so we’ll have a look at that and adapt to conditions a bit better.”
Healy came into the curtain-raiser on her worst run of form since 2013 but an assured half-century off 34 balls left her team perfectly poised at 67/2 in pursuit of India’s 132/4.
In the ninth over skipper Harmanpreet Kaur introduced Poonam, who just recovered from a hand injury that kept her out of the pre-tournament tri-series, to catch the Australians cold.
The match was played in front of a 13,432-strong crowd, a new record for a standalone women’s match in Australia.
Healy, player of the tournament at the 2018 Women’s T20 World Cup, admitted that the nerves were jangling at the scale of the occasion at the Sydney Showground.
“I’d say there were a few nerves out there, you’d be silly if you weren’t nervous. There were nearly 14,000 people out there, mainly cheering for India, but rooting for Australia as well.
“It was a special moment for everyone but there was also a level of excitement from the group. Whilst India got off to a good start with the bat, we pegged them back really well. We know what they do with their bowling and we did really well to restrict them to that total.
“We knew what the pitch was going to do, we just played some shots we shouldn’t have,” she said.