A look at what kind of threat the defending champions will pose during the Women's T20 World Cup.
Defending champions Australia will be itching to win another world title in front of their home crowd as they head into the Women's T20 World Cup in Australia. Of the six T20 World Cups held so far in Women's cricket, Australia have won four and are primed to add another to their kitty this time around. Here's a SWOT analysis of the squad selected.
Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham.
Australia's strength lies in their openers and strong all-rounders. While Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy pack quite a punch at the top with their aggressive batting and consistency, the all-rounders bring stability to the side and help them pack their sides with specialists. Mooney and Healy have 393 and 383 runs respectively since the end of the last T20 World Cup with a hundred apiece in the format. Add in Meg Lanning to the mix and that's one of the strongest top-orders in women's cricket ever.
In Ellyse Perry, Australia have arguably the greatest women's all-rounder of all-time in their side. Perry has scored runs at an average of 48 and a strike rate close to 110 in T20Is since the last World T20 and has also taken 12 wickets at an economy less than 6. Perry is in good bowling form too as the tri-series involving England and India showed.
Jess Jonassen is the only spinner who has gone through the rigours of international cricket in the Australian team. Sophie Molineux with four wickets in four matches and an average of 18.5 returns after a bout of mental illness and will also be targeted by opposition sides. For a team as bullish as the Aussies, the spin department appears a tad empty if anything. Jonassen and Molineux appeared off-colour in the tri-series and are definitely the weak links in this Australian side.
It's a chance for Australia to show their superiority in the women's game and in this shortest format in front of their home crowd. The Meg Lanning led side has won 10 of their 13 matches in T20Is since the end of the last Women's T20 World Cup. One further game ended in a tie while two matches were lost.
While there's enough experience in the squad, Australia have thrived on new players who carry that x-factor. That, somehow, seems slightly off in this current team named for the tournament. Anabel Sutherland's WBBL exploits offer hope and Australia will bank on her and Erin Burns to add a bit of punch to their old-school line-up.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @AusWomenCricket