Chappell: Aussies far from spinning out of control
Australia is in a tough section of the draw for the Women's T20 World Cup - three of the four top-ranked sides are in Group A - and qualifying for the semi-finals was always going to be a challenge.
Only the top two teams make it through qualifying and Australia's task has become a lot harder after a first-up loss to a feisty, spin-fuelled Indian side.
Australia's match against New Zealand on March 2 at the Junction Oval has now become a must-win contest.
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The good news is they have recently experienced what it's going to take to qualify and have a fighting chance of defending their T20 World Cup crown.
Australia's testing build-up to this tournament has turned out to be the ideal preparation.
They had to produce a hard-fought win over England in the final qualifying match of the tri-series and then survive a tight contest to overcome India and lift the trophy.
This was seen as the perfect warm-up for Australia; it seemingly exposed areas of concern and wiped away any hint of complacency.
The one aspect of Australia's game that wasn't tested was the ability to combat flighted leg-spin because the diminutive Indian tweaker Poonam Yadav was missing through injury.
Her absence may have been a blessing in disguise for India as she rattled Australia's cage with a teasing spell that realised four wickets.
Australia's uncertainty against the tantalising leggie was laid bare by Ellyse Perry's first-ball dismissal. The elegant right-hander tentatively left her crease but didn't pick the wrong-un and was comprehensively beaten and bowled.
The fact Perry was looking to dive back to safety almost as she warily pushed at the ball was a deadset give away - she'd left her crease thinking about the wicketkeeper. The words of my old coach came flooding back: "Ian, don't leave the crease thinking about the keeper. If you do, it means you're thinking about missing the ball."
Perry's dismissal would've led to a hat-trick for Yadav if the busy keeper Taniya Bhatia had then been able to cling on to a thick edge from Jess Jonassen. Bhatia made up for that blunder with a brilliant catch in the next over when Jonassen under-edged the leggie to seal a match-winning spell.
The challenge now facing Australia is one they are well-equipped to handle as they are not only talented but they're also an extremely well-balanced side. They've gained their excellent results and reputation from playing good, hard cricket.
The batting line-up is populated by both quick scorers and technically correct players. Alyssa Healy - who made a welcome return to form - and Beth Mooney are the ideal opening pair, the former with her gung-ho, all-guns-blazing approach is perfectly complemented by Mooney, whose strike rate is surprisingly close to her partner, thanks to deft touches and exquisite placement.
If all goes well, Ash Gardner can then be unleashed. She's capable of clearing any fence, never mind the boundary rope, with her powerful striking. If, however, there's an early stutter, the stylish skipper Meg Lanning can rectify the problem with her technically correct stroke play.
Should Lanning need any assistance, the versatile Perry - if you can coax her away from her hyperactive sideline exercise routine - can either rebuild or continue the momentum with a wide range of shots, highlighted by her elegant driving.
The batting, despite the collapse against India, is deep and threatening. The bowling features accuracy, swing and spin options to take advantage of the prevailing conditions.
Pace was probably the biggest point of difference between Australia and the other teams but the loss of speedster Tayla Vlaeminck through injury is a big blow.
Spin bowling has increasingly become a weapon in the women's game and Australia is well equipped. Jonassen is the leading exponent with her left-arm orthodox deliveries, ably supported by Sophie Molineux.
However, based on the evidence of Yadav's initial success, young Georgia Wareham's leg-breaks may be worth a gamble in the right conditions.
When asked before the tournament to nominate their toughest opponent, Healy chose two teams - England and India.
To get a crack at England, Australia will now have hold their nerve as well as play good cricket. This is the sort of demanding challenge that really good teams thrive on.