Filling Ellyse Perry’s shoes remains one of the toughest tasks in world cricket but Delissa Kimmince is taking it all in her stride.
Star all-rounder Perry was ruled out of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup with a hamstring injury, with her record of featuring in all her country’s 36 matches in the competition ending at the victory over South Africa.
But Australia proved they have the means to cope without their hero, with Kimmince coming in and taking one for 16 from three overs – the best economy rate of her side in a slender success.
Now it’s all eyes on the MCG for the 30-year-old, just hours away from perhaps the greatest day in her cricket career. “I can’t do anything but smile. Occasions like this are what we’re here for – family, friends and a packed MCG, it’s going to be amazing,” said Kimmince.
“My parents have flown to Melbourne, I haven’t played many games for my country in front of my mum and dad, so to be able to do that in a World Cup Final, I can only imagine what that’s going to be like.
“All of our squad have played a part at some stage which has been so good for us. Variety is a pretty key thing, you don’t want to be too predictable, so we’ve been lucky to have people come in, play their roles and get their wins which gives us a lot of confidence.
“Knowing that we have anyone who can come in and perform, especially having lost Ellyse Perry, is a massive boost for us.“Having her around in planning meetings has been really helpful as well.”
Just being in the final is a noteworthy feat for Australia, losing their first game against India and needing blemish-free cricket just to reach the knockout stages.
The four-time champions have never failed to reach the semi-finals but they had to pull out all the stops to maintain the record, a winner-takes-all victory over New Zealand a triumph in itself.
From there they battled both rain and South Africa to reach the Final, an unconventional if effective progression for a side that have yet to hit perfection. But a wounded Australian is one to be feared in Kimmince’s eyes.
“Losing the first game in a home World Cup, with eyes watching all over the world, wasn’t ideal and it did put us under pressure a little bit,” she added. “But it shows where we are as a group and the character we have, we haven’t relied on one person and players have stood up to get the job done.
“It’s been a rollercoaster World Cup for us, our backs have been against the wall throughout the tournament and going into a must-win game against New Zealand. To get over the line there, and then the semi-final, is really big for us – it’s felt like we’ve been up against it from the start but we’ve found our way through that.
“We know you only have one shot at it – you’ve got to make the most of it. There was some freedom and aggressive cricket to be played in that and we’ve managed to take it through to the end.”
(With ICC inputs)