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South Africa's riding a wave of emotion, we are prepared for that, says Australian skipper Lanning ahead of T20 WC final
Cape Town: Ahead of the final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023, Australian skipper Meg Lanning admitted that South Africa, who earned the first-ever qualification by the country's senior team to a World Cup event, are riding a wave of emotion following their win over England in the semifinal and her side is prepared for home support for the hosts and an incredible game in Cape Town.
The final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup will be played in Cape Town on Sunday. Australia are eyeing a hat-trick of T20 WC title wins, having won the 2018 and 2020 editions of the tournament. Australia are taking nothing for granted ahead of their ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023 showdown with first-time finalists South Africa, according to captain Meg Lanning.
Australia has reigned supreme in five of the seven ICC Women's T20 World Cups but has never previously faced the hosts in the final.
Lanning and her teammates are expecting little support when they step out at Newlands on Sunday but they are up for the challenge.
"There is pressure on everyone, it is a World Cup final," she said, according to ICC.
"South Africa is playing really good cricket. We are expecting them to come out and play to their full strength. They are riding a wave of emotion so we are certainly prepared for that. Their semi-final against England had an incredible atmosphere and the crowd was certainly cheering for the home team, as you would expect here, so we are prepared for that," she said.
"We know we are probably not going to be the team that everyone is cheering for but that is fine, you know it is going to be an incredible atmosphere and an incredible game at an amazing venue. We are pumped, we cannot wait to get out there and play and no doubt it is going to be a great contest," Lanning added.
Australia reached their seventh consecutive final after a nail-biting five-run win over India, a victory Lanning described as "one of the best."
With another tense encounter expected in Cape Town against the host nation, Lanning hoped that holding their nerve in the tense last-four clash will serve as the perfect preparation.
"Having been put in pressure situations before helps us, you learn a lot in those times and we learnt a lot from the semi-final where we were under the pump a fair bit. It reiterated to us that you have to stay in the game and you have to be ready to take your chances when you get them. We were able to do that the other day, we need to make sure we are ready to do that again but there is going to be moments when South Africa will be on top. They will have the momentum, the crowd will be on their side and we accept that.
"But when we get the chance to really put our footprint on the game and play the way that we want, we have to make sure that we do that because that is how we are going to win the game," Lanning said.
Having announced she would be taking an indefinite break from cricket for personal reasons just six months ago, Lanning is determined to make the most of the occasion.
"These are the games that you want to be involved in, you never know when your next chance might be," she said.
"I am staying super relaxed, enjoying the opportunity, and really embracing everything that comes with it," concluded Lanning, who has scored 139 runs in four innings in the tournament so far at an average of 69.50, with best score of 49*. (ANI)