Cricket: Beth Mooney overcomes food poisoning for matchwinning innings

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A “dodgy sashimi” was nearly enough to prevent Beth Mooney’s brilliant matchwinning effort in Hobart that came hours after she was confirmed as the best T20 batter in the world again.

Australian captain Alyssa Healy revealed Mooney was so ill, due to food poisoning, that a response from the skipper asking how her opening batter was feeling just hours before the game was met with a “selfie of her lying in bed”.

Mooney wasn’t going to play in a match Australia had to win to ward off a series defeat, having gone down to South Africa for the first time in 25 encounters in Canberra last Sunday and with questions being asked about the all-conquering side.

As she lay in a hotel bed contemplating whether to bat on, the ICC confirmed Mooney was again on top of the T20 batter rankings, with teammate Tahlia McGrath in second, illustrating the talent available to Healy and the national selectors.

Mooney said she didn’t feel well until about 3pm on Tuesday, four hours before start time, then went out and belted a match-high 82 off just 55 balls to secure a series win for her team.

“I’ve heard (it was) maybe a dodgy sashimi,” Healy said of her teammate’s illness.

“I messaged her this afternoon probably about one o’clock and said, ‘Are you all right?’, and she sent me back a selfie of her lying in bed.

“There was a real possibility that she wouldn’t play and we had a plan in place if she didn’t, but she got to the ground and had a good warm-up and felt like she was able to contribute, so that was handy.

“She played and missed at the first three balls and then didn’t look like she missed the middle after that.

“Her consistency in a format that’s really hard to be consistent is quite remarkable and knowing that she was a little bit under the weather as well is extra special.”

Mooney, who peeled off her second half-century of the series and is in line for recognition at the Cricket Australia awards on Tuesday night for her white-ball prowess, didn’t think she was going to play.

“(I felt) pretty unwell, not my best day as a human being, I’ll put that out there,” Mooney told the broadcast following the game.

“At about 4am I started feeling a bit ill … I proceeded to spend the next six or seven hours very unwell.

“Not until about 3 o’clock did I think I was playing tonight but managed to get the job done for the team when it mattered.”

The two teams will now prepare for three ODIs, which begin on Saturday, before a one-off Test in Perth to conclude the multi-format series.