Rachael Haynes backs Australia to be ready for Sri Lanka's Chamari Athapaththu threat
If any team knows the threat of Chamari Athapaththu, it’s Australia - but Rachael Haynes says they have some tricks up their sleeve to quieten the Sri Lanka captain in Perth.
Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu scored her country’s first T20I century against Australia in September and has a good record against the hosts
Rachael Haynes says Australia have been preparing for how to stop the dangerous opener
The defending champions are determined to bounce back from Friday’s loss to India with victory in Perth on Monday
The defending champions go into their second ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 match under added pressure after losing Friday night’s opener to India in Sydney - a contest that could prove decisive in their quest for the knockout stages.
Australia were boosted by Alyssa Healy’s revival in form but know they will need to watch out their opposition’s key batter at the WACA, with Haynes admitting the team has not forgotten about the Sri Lanka captain's century against them earlier this summer.
“We know how dangerous she can be,” said Haynes. “We’ve got ideas on how we want to counter her attack.
“We’ll plan for her, because she clearly enjoys the ball coming onto the bat at the WACA.
“We want to respect that whole team. They’re a dangerous side who are capable of pushing us and putting us under pressure.
“The challenge that lies ahead of us isn’t too dissimilar to the challenge a lot of other teams face.
“If you want to win a World Cup and be part of the business end, you pretty much have to win five games of cricket. That’s what is in front of us right now.”
With an impressive record against the hosts and experience playing in the Women’s Big Bash League, Athapaththu is no stranger to a good performance on Australian soil.
The run shows no sign of stopping having hit an unbeaten 78 in Sri Lanka’s ten-wicket warm-up win over England followed by 41 under the lights against New Zealand in their Women’s T20 World Cup opener.
So it’s little surprise the in-form Athapaththu won’t be changing her approach against Australia at the WACA.
“I’ve tended to play my best cricket against Australia, but I try to do that against every team,” said Athapaththu.
“I love playing in these conditions and I love playing under pressure, which I think is why I always score against Australia.
“I always say to myself ‘play freely, with courage and be positive’. That’s all it is.
"Australia are the best team in the world with a lot of experienced players, but we have skilled defence.
“We have been planning for their strengths and weaknesses and we will try to do our best.”