Meg Lanning says Australia is preparing to counter the dual threat of a “world-class” pace attack from South Africa and a vociferous home crowd as it seeks to win the T20 World Cup again in Cape Town.
Champion on home soil in the 2020 edition of the 20-over showpiece, Australia go into title contention with an unbeaten record against South Africa in the history of eight editions of the T20 World Cup in Newlands on Sunday.
But with the hosts putting off an emotionally charged final ball against England in Friday’s semi-final at the same venue and more than 13,500 spectators are expected for the crucial game, Australia captain Lanning believes it will be crucial for her side to gain momentum win .
“Everyone is under pressure. It’s a World Cup final,” said Lanning on Saturday.
“We’re expecting them to come out and play at full force – and they’re also riding a wave of emotions, so we’re prepared for that.”
“It’s a new experience for them to be in the World Cup final and sometimes that can be a good thing. So we’re very aware of the threat they pose and we have to play well.”
“There will be moments when South Africa will be on top, they will have the momentum, the crowd will be on their side.
“But if we get a chance to put our footprint in the game, we have to make sure we do that because that’s how we’re going to win the game.”
Australia, Lanning insisted, is “confident” in its plan to tackle South Africa’s fast bowlers.
Against England, host pacesetter Shabnim Ismail sent a 128kph delivery en route to their 3-27 that saw them top the T20 World Cup wicket chart with 41 hits.
Ayabonga Khaka complemented Ismail with a foursome, while Marizanne Kapp and Nadine de Klerk shone in supporting roles.
“Without a doubt their attack of pace is on par with the best in the world,” said Lanning.
“They have some world-class players and they showed recently how effective they can be. It’s their home conditions, they understand them really well and know what works and what doesn’t.
“We’ve played some very close games against each other over the years. We prevailed, but we were pushed far.
“We know them as well as they know us. We’ve also played with some of their players in different competitions, so there’s no reason to hide.”
Australia were narrowly led by India in Thursday’s semifinals, but close bowling and superlative field play at death helped Lanning’s side earn a five-round win in the last-ball thriller.
The 30-year-old said the hard-fought win would benefit Australia.
“It helps to be put under pressure beforehand,” Lanning said.
“You learn a lot during these times. And we learned a lot from the semifinals, where we were under a lot of pressure.
“From our bowling perspective, we’ve improved a bit since the semis. We know the conditions now and we know what’s working.”
Having previously led Australia in five World Cup white ball finals – losing just one of those to the West Indies in 2016 – Lanning said she “remained super relaxed, enjoying the opportunity, really embracing it and all that comes with it .”
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-26/lanning-aussies-ready-for-daunting-world-cup-final-examination/102024614 Australia captain Meg Lanning says South Africa, finalists in the women’s T20 World Cup, boast a “world class” pace attack