Perry firms in Australia World Cup squeeze

Meg Lanning says Ellyse Perry will play a pivotal role at next month's Twenty20 World Cup as Australia's top-order faces a squeeze ahead of the tournament.

Lanning will return to Australia's T20 team for the first time since the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday against Pakistan at North Sydney Oval, and will open in place of the injured Alyssa Healy.

Healy is on track to return from a calf injury in time for next month's World Cup in South Africa, leaving Lanning to move down the order to accommodate her.

That's likely to create pressure for places in the middle, with Perry and Annabel Sutherland fighting for one spot when Healy returns.

Perry was dropped from Australia's T20 team last summer, but on return in last month's tour of India hit match-winning scores of 75 and 72 not out.

"Over in India she came out and played in a different way to what she has in the past," Lanning said.

"That game has always been there for her, but now she is confident to come out and dominate attacks, she can hit the ball as hard as anyone in world cricket.

"To see her do that over in India was great, and I think she will play a pivotal role for us moving through these T20s and in the World Cup as well.

"She can really dominate against spin in particular, so I'm excited to see what sort of a role she can play for us."

That call is likely to leave Grace Harris acting as a specialist bat at No.6 or 7, with Ashleigh Gardner creating a one-two punch in the middle and lower order.

Sutherland, however, can aid her cause with a strong series against Pakistan in Sydney, Hobart and Canberra.

"It's going to be very difficult to make a decision on the final XI in every game moving forward from here," Lanning said.

"A lot of it will come down to match-ups and who we're coming up against and what we feel like is the best method."

Lanning also claimed opener Beth Mooney was now close to the best women's batter in world cricket, after her player-of-the-series effort in the 3-0 ODI series win over Pakistan.

Mooney will enter the World Cup as one of Australia's most dangerous contributors, after also being player of the tournament in their T20 success in 2020.

"I don't think it matters what format or what positions she plays in because she seems to be able to go out there and dominate and perform consistently," Lanning said.

"That's the difference between her and other players in the world - she does it game after game."