Christchurch, April 2 (IANS) Australia skipper Meg Lanning said on Saturday that her team had been building on the momentum all through the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, and while the side had a “good game plan”, there were “certainly some nerves” going into the final against England at the Hagley Oval on Sunday.
Six-time winners Australia will take on defending champions England, who after losing the first three group games, have really pulled themselves up to return from the brink of elimination and make it to the summit clash. Australia, on the other hand, have remained unbeaten in the tournament.
Lanning is banking on the string of eight wins in the tournament here for another complete performance in the final. The skipper is expecting her players to draw on their nerves as well as their excitement as they look to seal a seventh title.
“There are certainly some nerves around I think it would be crazy if you weren’t nervous heading into a World Cup final, so it’s a good thing. But there’s a lot of excitement,” Lanning, the 2013 champion, said on the eve of the final.
“It’s a great opportunity for our team to go out on a big stage and play really good cricket and we feel like we’ve been building throughout the tournament. We’ve got a really good game plan and also the skill sets within the team to be able to deliver but it comes down to what happens tomorrow. We know that it’s going to be tough, England always provide a great contest. They’ve got some world-class players who can take the game away from you really quickly,” Lanning said during the virtual press conference organised by ICC.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge for us and certainly not going to be easy but we feel confident that if we can put up as close to our best as possible, then that’ll give us a good chance.”
Lanning, who will play in her 100th ODI on Sunday, started the tournament by saying everyone was chasing England but, with one game left, the goal has changed. “We’re both chasing the same thing tomorrow, we both want to win just as much as the other.
“That’s the thing about World Cup finals, it’s all on the line on the day; it’s irrelevant what’s happened previously in the tournament. Both teams start on zero runs tomorrow and it’s about putting out a really good performance and that’s the challenge for our team.”
Giving an update on star all-rounder Ellyse Perry, who is facing a race against time to recover from a back injury that has kept her out of Australia’s last two games, Lanning said, “Ellyse got through a pretty hard and high-intensity session yesterday (Friday) and she’s trained again today and is feeling pretty good.
“It will just depend on how she pulls up sort of this afternoon, that will be the final hurdle she needs to get over. But at this stage, it is looking pretty good.
“She can definitely play as a specialist bat and that’s probably the most likely scenario. She hasn’t bowled for a couple of weeks now and it would be difficult for her to come out and bowl in a final. Ellyse is a world-class player and has shown that over a long period of time, particularly in this 50-over format. She averages 50 with the bat and has a great record with the ball as well. To have someone with that experience, someone who has performed on the big stage before hopefully to be part of our team is a huge boost.”