Favourite Australia must stick to the basics and trust its skills in Sunday’s Women’s Twenty20 World Cup final against South Africa, according to captain Meg Lanning as it prepares to face a home side riding a wave of emotion.
Five-time winners Australia survived a nervy semi-final against India when Lanning admits it was not at its best, and a fired-up South Africa, playing its first ever final, will be keen to exploit any drop in performance.
“There is pressure on everyone, it is a World Cup final, there are no guarantees,” Lanning told reporters on Saturday.
“It is about what happens on the day. South Africa have been playing some good cricket. If you get to a World Cup final you have beaten some good teams.
“We are expecting them to come out and play to their full strength and they are riding a wave of emotion as well. We are prepared for that. It is about executing as best you can.
“It is going to be an incredible atmosphere and a great game at an amazing venue, one of the best I have ever been to. So we are pumped, we can’t wait to get out there and play.”
Australia has won all six of its previous meetings with South Africa, including a comfortable six-wicket victory earlier in the tournament.
With a number of South African players having featured in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, there will be little mystery between the two sides.
“We have played some really close games over the years and come out on top, but we have been pushed a long way,” Lanning says. “We are expecting a tight contest, we know them really well, as they do us.
“We have played alongside some of their players in the various (global T20) competitions. There is nowhere to hide, everybody knows what’s coming - it is just about holding your nerve under the pressure of a World Cup final.
“There will be moments when South Africa will be on top and will have the crowd behind them. We accept that it will happen, but when we get the chance to put our footprint on the game, we have to make sure we do that.”
Australia has won the last two World Cup finals. Its only defeat in the decider came against the West Indies in Kolkata in 2016.