Australia captain Meg Lanning knows South Africa ‘won’t give an inch’ as they bid to upset the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 hosts and seal a place in the Melbourne Cricket Ground final.
Lanning has led the four-time winners through a turbulent group stage, beaten in their opening game by India, given a scare by Sri Lanka and losing star player Ellyse Perry to injury.
With the prospect of a final in front of a sellout home crowd on 8 March just one win away, Lanning put a leash on expectation by reiterating how much it all means to the other contenders.
“It’s massive and we haven’t looked any further ahead than Thursday,” said Lanning, who has contributed 67 runs at 33.50 in Australia’s four games.
“Semi-finals are extremely hard to win at World Cups. It’s the four best teams in the tournament and there are no inches given by any team.
“We’re extremely excited about the opportunity to come up against South Africa who have played really well through the tournament.
“There’s a lot of chatter about the final from the outside, and it’s going to be a great event on Sunday no matter who’s playing. We want to be part of that but so do the other three teams.”
Thursday’s semi-final will be the third time Australia have played a T20 international at the iconic SCG, beating New Zealand in 2009 and then India in 2016.
Pressure has been the watchword for Matthew Mott’s side on home soil, already extending their record of having reached the final four of every Women’s T20 World Cup since its inception in 2009.
The loss of Perry means they’ll go where they’ve never gone before in the competition against South Africa, with the all-rounder never having missed a match at the T20 World Cup.
Perry has remained with Lanning’s squad despite being ruled out of the tournament with injury and the Australia skipper says the 29-year-old has been offering invaluable advice to team-mates.
“Ellyse is a very experienced player and big-game player as well,” said Lanning.
“She knows what it takes to perform under pressure and that’s going to be really handy for us tomorrow. We have had our meetings and everything. She has been a really good contributor, and always is. She’s kept a really brave face for the team. She’s dealing with it as well as she could have.”
This article was first published on the ICC site