Crunch time for Australia's Cricket World Cup campaign
CRICKET: Two games remain in the group stage of the Women's Cricket World Cup and Australia and India will be in very similar situations when they come head to head at Bristol on Wednesday.
Having played the lower ranked sides during the opening rounds, both nations started the tournament strong but have dipped in more recent matches with both registering their first losses in their most recent matches.
Australia lost to England on Sunday and South Africa tore through the Indian batting line-up on Saturday.
Australia captain Meg Lanning said the dip in form comes down to consistency and was a firm reminder of the level required to win the tournament.
"We probably didn't play as consistently as we would have liked [against England]," Lanning said.
"We had some good patches there but weren't able to put enough pressure on England throughout the game.
"Plenty of things to learn from, which I think is a good thing. A nice little wake-up call for us heading into another tough game against India so we're hoping for an improved performance."
India captain Mithali Raj said better individual performances would be required against Australia after they were bowled out for 158 by South Africa, four players getting out for ducks.
Raj said that effort is a long way from where they began the World Cup.
"We started well but we have not been consistent in that we would want to play in the tournament. The first two games have been very good for the team but we really haven't looked anywhere close to that brand of cricket against Sri Lanka or Pakistan," she said.
"It's just a matter of a few players come back into form and getting some runs under their belt.
"The bowlers definitely have been doing well in all the games that India has played. It's important that we need to post a total, which we've not been doing that well in the last three games that India has played."
Australia and India sit in second and third place, on eight points with England who sit atop the ladder. The Aussies play South Africa in their final group match while India take on New Zealand, the two nations that sit one point behind the leaders in fourth and fifth spot.
A win for Australia would release an enormous amount of pressure heading into the last game, but Lanning said her team feels there's no more importance on these matches as to previous ones.
"It's a World Cup so every game has a lot of pressure attached to it and I think last game was a good experience for our group to play under that sort of pressure and a chance to learn from that and make sure we're better next game," she said.
"The squad's feeling really relaxed and looking forward to the challenge of playing against good opposition but I think the pressure is on everyone at this stage of the tournament, we're not feeling there's any more than there has been."