Women's WT20 | Everyone had written us off but we showed character, gushes Ashleigh Gardner
Ashleigh Gardner was named player of the match for her incredible all-round display|
Ashleigh Gardner was all praise for the spirit Australia showed in their World T20 semi-final clash against Australia stating the team won despite having 'no right to' at some point in the game. She went on to discuss their approach to fielding before lauding Ellyse Perry for setting the bar.
Australia reached a record seventh Women's World T20 final on Thursday after defeating India by five runs in an intense affair at Newlands. The star for the side was Ashleigh Gardner who walked away with yet another player of the match award after blitzing 31 runs off 18 balls with the bat before returning figures of 2/37 in her four overs. However, the Women in Yellow were not always in control despite setting a massive target of 173 as opposition skipper Harmanpreet Kaur went berserk alongside Jemimah Rodrigues. The duo rescued the side from 28/3 to needing just 40 runs from 32 deliveries by the time both had departed but clinical death bowling, including just 10 runs in the last over by Gardner, was enough to clinch a positive result.
"I think at the ten-over mark in India's batting innings, everyone had probably written us off, but I think that just shows our character within our side and that's why the best teams win in those types of positions," Ashleigh was quoted saying by ESPNCricinfo.
"What we speak about is when our backs are up against the wall, we always try and find a way, and today we probably had no right to win at one point there. They were cruising and then we found a way to get some wickets and ultimately came out on top," she added.
India rued missed catches of skipper Meg Lanning and Beth Mooney as the visitors showcased the value of good fielding with some excellent boundary saves in crunch situations, including an incredible dive by Perry in the penultimate over of the game.
"We showed our class today in the field and we always speak about as a group being the best fielding team in the world, and I think today really showed that. Ellyse Perry was elite on the boundary. Whether it's dropped catches, missed opportunities in the field, those ultimately add up to quite a lot of runs and I think we took those moments when we really needed to. I certainly think Pez is probably the blueprint for our side going forward - certainly on the boundary. At the end of the day, that could have been the difference between us and them," Gardner opined.
"We have KPIs and there are markers that show us whether we're positive or negative in the field. So there's a pretty clear indication of how we've fielded. We just know how to push each other. In our training sessions, there are always really high-pressure situations, and as athletes, we all push each other - whether it's on the field or off the field, whether it's in the gym, or running. That's something we really pride ourselves on is being fit, being strong, and ultimately that's one of the things that has an impact in the field," she concluded on the matter.