Fellow left-hander Mooney, one of the world’s best batters, presented Litchfield with her ODI debut cap before the 19-year-old made an unbeaten 78 off 92 balls in the eight-wicket win over Pakistan in Brisbane on Monday.
The pair opened in the run chase but Mooney was soon out for 1. Litchfield went on with it and combined with captain Meg Lanning (67 off 76) to lead Australia to victory in an innings Mooney would have been proud of.
Litchfield credits her father Andrew for giving her a technical grounding in cricket but Mooney, the master of pacing a run chase, has provided her with a batting blueprint.
“In recent times I have looked to Beth Mooney, especially in the T20 game and the way she goes about it,” Litchfield said. “She doesn’t need to bash sixes and fours. She just goes about it and accumulates, so I have taken some inspiration off her.
“I think I have improved my temperament and also my power game. I was a ‘nurdeler’ in my first few years. I’d glide it to third and [score] a lot of runs behind the wicket so I have worked on that. Temperament [wise]…leaving balls today, I probably would have lashed at one in the first over if it was the old me.”
Litchfield built her innings superbly. She grafted early and punished only loose deliveries before unleashing at the end of her knock, lofting one drive cleanly over mid-off for six with aplomb.
It was fitting that stalwart Mooney had made the cap presentation, where she had prepared a speech and said plenty of positive things about the debutant.
“It was so sweet and she gave me the [speech] notes. I’ve got that in my cricket kit and I reckon that will stay in there for the entirety of hopefully a long career,” Litchfield said.
The recently retired Rachael Haynes and injured Alyssa Healy opened in the last ODI Australia had played at the ODI World Cup last year.
Litchfield is humble about her future prospects ahead of the T20 World Cup where she will tour South Africa with Healy on her return from a calf injury.
“With Alyssa Healy’s injury there is a spot at the top of the order and I put my hand up but you look at Midge [Healy] and Mooney’s success, and even Rachael’s success, and I am not looking to disrupt that,” she said.
“I am happy to run drinks for a long time. I am just happy to be around this group. If there is an opportunity I’ll take it but I will be pretty happy to see Midge back.”