Aussies pad up for testing Women's World Cup run
AUSTRALIA has reached crunch time at the World Cup.
With four matches played and three remaining in the group stages, Australia's game against England is where it all starts to count.
If England win, they move to eight points alongside the Aussies and India, who were surprisingly thrashed by South Africa, meaning first place heading into semi-finals is still very much up for grabs.
Australia continues to have a "game by game” approach but coach Matthew Mott admits the England clash stands above the rest in terms of importance.
"We always talk about treating each game in isolation, but this is a huge game coming up for us,” Mott said.
"We've had an intense rivalry over a long period of time. Two really good teams. They've transitioned well, brought in some good players and you can start to see that they're playing, particularly their batters, a really attractive brand of cricket.
"We've still got big games after that. India are a very good team now, and South Africa. Theoretically you've got three sides, four sides there that are hopefully contending for semi-finals.
"The biggest part of our journey is just coming up. There's a real feeling of that at the moment.”
England has the form to upset Australia. Two scores of more than 370 and four 100s from four different batters make them a formidable opponent. England sits third on six points and their opening round loss to India seems well and truly behind them.
A fresh wicket in Bristol on a ground known for its quick outfield will have both sides confident of producing runs.
England captain Heather Knight said playing Australia will the true test of their form.
"We feel like as a squad we're in a really good place. We've obviously had a few really good wins and a few days to kind of really focus on the Aussies and what we're going to face,” Knight said.
For now, the result for them isn't important, it's about gauging where they are at and how much further they need to go to win the tournament.
"For me it's not about winning or losing, it's about making sure we all turn up,” said England coach Mark Robinson.
"Skill things and decision making under pressure, that's easy to learn, you do that through experience, you do that through having games like we had the other day; the bowlers being put under enormous pressure by South Africa.
"You learn from the India game, don't really learn when you win by 200 runs, not as much.
"As we keep saying we need to play big games to keep moving forward.
"(Australia) will be a great testament to see how we've come, we're playing the world's best. Australia are an outstanding team, they've done really well over the last few years, they're the favourites of the competition.
"We've got a great opportunity to see how far we've come, win or lose.”