Australia’s pace spearhead Megan Schutt has a humble request to captain Meg Lanning ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final – don’t make me bowl to Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana.
On Thursday at Sydney, when the defending champs took on South Africa in the second semi-final, Schutt scalped 2-17, including important wickets of Proteas’ skipper Dane van Niekerk and Sune Luus, to steer her side to the final against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
The 27-year-old does not have a very good record against India, who will be featuring in their first-ever World T20 final which is in its seventh edition. The Aussie pacer went wicketless in the inaugural match of the World T20 against India and she was smashed for 16 runs in the first over of the game. Also in the T20I tri-series in which Australia, England, and India locked horns against each other, Schutt managed to pick up one wicket in each of the three matches she played against India.
These statistics do not look encouraging and probably the Aussie frontline seamer won’t be rushing to grab the new ball when India’s opening pair of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana will take strike on March 8 at the MCG.
“I just hate playing India – they’ve got the wood over me. Smriti and Shafali have got me covered. That six Shafali hit me for in the tri-series was probably the biggest one I’ve ever been hit for.”
“There are obviously some plans we’re going to revisit as bowlers. Clearly, I’m not the best match-up to those two in the Powerplay. They find me quite easy to play. We’re at that Final we’ve been talking about for so long and against India, which is super fitting considering the tri-series we had. It couldn’t really be a bigger challenge for us. It’s not really a bad thing, it’s good we’re going up against a team we’ve played a lot recently and it’s the same for them as well,” elucidated Schut.
Schutt was at the receiving end of Verma and Mandhana’s aggressive batting play in the very first over of last month’s tri-series. The 16-year old child prodigy smashed Schutt for a boundary of the very first ball and the stylish southpaw lifted her for a six in the same over.
Schutt’s career economy rate is 5.98, but against India it inflates to 6.93. Her career bowling average which otherwise looks tidy at 15.68 becomes unattractive against the first time World T20 finalists, as she picks up a wicket after giving away 25 runs
The Adelaide-born has had a wonderful tournament so far. She has picked up nine wickets in five games and is the highest wicket-taker in the tournament alongside India’s spin wizard Poonam Yadav, who also has nine wickets but in four games.
On Sunday, the Aussies will certainly feel the absence of their star all-rounder Ellyse Perry, who has not missed a single World T20 match since 2009. Perry, who pulled out in a game against New Zealand on Monday, often shares the new ball with Schutt.
“After we won the semi-final against South Africa at Sydney on Thursday, I got off the field and Pez had tears in her eyes and that made me immediately tear up.”
“You just don’t see that emotion from Pez. For her, to show the pain against New Zealand meant there was a serious injury there, she doesn’t normally show her pain. To come off the field and see the pure joy in her eyes, the tears as well, I could have cried at that moment and it shows the team character she is,” exclaimed Schutt.