Leading Australia at a packed-out MCG will be a moment like never before for Meg Lanning but the captain only has eyes on getting the job done.
Lanning is no stranger to winning ICC Women’s T20 World Cup titles having led her country to glory at the last edition in 2018.
But with a world record-breaking crowd looming, she knows this time is going to be different from anything she’s ever experienced.
Walking out to a sold-out MCG is the dream for any cricketer, let alone the Australia captain, but for Lanning it’s not just about breaking records.
Instead her focus is on making sure her side become champions, desperate to make sure their once-in-a-lifetime moment won’t be tainted by disappointment.
“We’re not coming just to put on a good show,” said the skipper.
“We’re coming here to win and that’s the attitude we’re going in with.
“It’s been a long time coming and the build-up to the game is something I’ve not experienced before. It will be the biggest moment of my career.
“It’s a very exciting time for everyone to be involved in the bigger game there has ever been in women’s cricket. We haven’t played in front of a crowd this big before and we need to deal with that the best we can.
“We’ve had such a great tournament so far but there’s one more challenge to come on Sunday and it’s going to be our toughest one so far.”
Hosts and four-time champions Australia were the pre-tournament favourites but if their run in the competition has taught us anything, it’s the difficulty of predicting a winner in Sunday’s showpiece.
It’s been a rocky ride to the MCG for Lanning and co, in danger of missing out after Poonam Yadav and India left them in a spin in the tournament opener in Sydney.
Memories of Poonam’s leg-spinning masterclass will no doubt resurface in Melbourne but with the likes of Radha Yadav and newcomer Shafali Verma both in red-hot form, Lanning is urging her side to be prepared for any of their opponent’s threats.
“It’s not just Poonam we need to worry about,” she added.
“They’ve got some really good left-armers too, such as Rajeshwari Gayakwad. They’ve got a really strong line-up right through their bowlers and they have spinners who can change their pace.
“We will be facing some slow spinners at training. We’ll be as prepared as we can be and making sure we adjust to what’s happening at the time.
“Obviously Smriti Mandhana is a world-class player too and Deepti Sharma has also played well against us. We feel like our bowling line-up can adjust to different things.
“We are very well prepared for what the game will throw at us. It’s going to be a tough, hard battle tomorrow against India but I feel we are as ready as we can be to take it on.”
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