Alyssa Healy admitted Australia walked into Poonam Yadav’s trap as the leg-spinner inspired India to a 17-run victory in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 opener.
Poonam had the hosts in a spin from her first over, starting with stock leg-spinners and unfurling wicked wrong-uns from her second to finish with a match-winning four for 19.
Healy, who perished to Poonam’s fifth ball, acknowledged she and her side fell hook, line and sinker to the Indian spinner’s plan.
Healy said: “We didn’t chase as smart as we have in the past. Full credit to Poonam, she bowled quite cleverly tonight.
“We prepare really well, 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 very 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 for two in pursuit of India’s 132 for four.
Enter Poonam, only brought into the attack by Harmanpreet Kaur in the ninth over, recovered from the 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 crowd of 13,432, 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 the nerves were jangling at the scale of the occasion at Sydney Showground.
“There wasn’t any real extra pressure or expectation,” she said.
“I’d say there were a few nerves out there, you’d be silly if you weren’t nervous. There are nearly 14,000 people out there mainly cheering for India, but cheering 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.”