Ellyse Perry
Ellyse Perry Image Credit: AFP

All-rounder Ellyse Perry has been ruled out of Australia’s Women’s World Cup semi-final against the West Indies on Wednesday with a back issue, captain Meg Lanning said.

Perry, who missed the semi-finals and final of the 2020 T20 World Cup because of a hamstring injury, suffered back spasms in Australia’s win over South Africa early last week and sat out training until Monday’s session.

“She batted a little bit in the nets yesterday and felt okay, but she certainly just wasn’t in a position, unfortunately, to be able to perform at the level needed for tomorrow,” Lanning said. “Unfortunate for her and the team, obviously a big blow, but we feel like we’ve got some good depth to be able to cover it and we’re going to have to do that tomorrow.”

Annabel Sutherland, daughter of former Cricket Australia chief executive James, is likely to retain her place in the team after replacing Perry for the win over Bangladesh last Friday.

Unbeaten Australia, who are aiming for a seventh World Cup triumph, take on West Indies at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on Wednesday, while holders England play South Africa in the other semi-final in Christchurch on Thursday.

West Indies have also made a change to their squad with all-rounder Mandy Mangru coming in as a temporary replacement for leg-spinner Afy Fletcher, who tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating. Captain Stafanie Taylor did not think Perry’s absence would make it easier for her team.

“We haven’t spoken about that and I don’t think it is something that we were going to talk about,” Taylor said. “I feel like Australia is a strong team whether Ellyse Perry is on or she is out.

“They’re a strong team and we still have to go ahead with our plans and focus on what we need to do as a team and not too much on them.”

Defending champions England will carry momentum into Thursday’s game in Christchurch - a replay of the 2017 semi-final - having won four straight matches after losing their opening three.

England captain Heather Knight believes her team’s experience of playing “knockout cricket” in the latter half of the group stage - they could not afford to lose a match if they were to qualify - is invaluable.

“Having that mentality to have the pressure on you and that if you lose you’re out, we’ve had that for a while now,” said Knight. “So I think that will be a really useful thing for us.”

Second-ranked South Africa lost only one match, to Australia, in the group stage.

Their powerful batting line-up, led by Laura Wolvaardt, will fancy their chances of turning the tables on England, who got up to pip them by two wickets with two balls to spare at the same stage in 2017.

Wolvaardt has plundered 433 runs at an average of 61.85 in the tournament, more than any other batter. Australia’s Lanning comes next with 358 at 59.66.