Australia’s path to the MCG was filled with obstacles but the fight goes on for captain Meg Lanning after reaching the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 Final.
Lanning’s side overcame South Africa by just five runs (DLS method) to take their place in Sunday’s showpiece, with India the final hurdle on an historic occasion in Melbourne.
From the expectation of hosting to the pressure following defeat to India first up, Australia have far from breezed their way to the Final, with near-perfect cricket needed after the opening setback.
But nothing worth having comes easy for the captain, a mentality that has brought the group closer together ahead of one of the biggest days in their careers.
“We never came into this World Cup thinking it would just happen and it was going to be easy,” said Lanning.
“We knew it was in for a fight and that’s exactly what happened. We weren’t owed anything. We’re not here to defend it, we’re here to win it.
“We’ve had a lot thrown at us this tournament and to be able to come together at a really big moment is certainly special. We’ll enjoy the win knowing there’s something massive coming up in the next few days.
“It hasn’t been a smooth journey to the Final. You sit down at the start of the tournament and think about how things might go, and none of that has happened for us really, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a result, and that’s the attitude we’ve got.
“I think different players have stood up at different times, and we’ve had to adapt our game style, and that’s fine. We’ve got the players to do it.”
With South Africa bidding for a maiden Final, semi-final victory was never going to be an easy task for the host nation – particularly with inclement weather before and during the match.
But Australia are not four-time champions for nothing, with Lanning herself (49 not out) leading the charge with the bat as they posted 134 for five from 20 overs.
South Africa fought in their chase but fell just short of their own historic moment, with Lanning pleased the time for talking ahead of one of the biggest days in women’s sport is nearly over.
“You can never rest and think you’ve got it in the bag, not even with the last few balls. South Africa played really well and took it right to the end,” she added.
“They got momentum with both bat and ball and fought back really well. It was a tough game and I feel for them, they’ve had a really good tournament.
“We certainly had to play very well to get through.
“I’m pretty happy that 8 March has nearly come around. Now we can just talk about India and Australia and what a great game it’s going to be.”