Photo Credit: ICC
Captain Meg Lanning believes Australia have had the perfect preparation for the semi-finals after their six-wicket win over India at Eden Park confirmed their place in the knockouts.
Australia have won all five of their games so far at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, but Lanning insists the tournament favourites are still battle-hardened having come through different tests each time.
The Australia skipper anchored her side’s chase of 278, the highest ever at a World Cup, with 97 after her counterpart Mithali Raj had top-scored for India with 68.
“I think as a group, we’re really excited. World Cups are very difficult to play in, we’ve seen there’s been a lot of upsets throughout this tournament already, so every game is a challenge,” said Lanning, who was part of the Australia side that lifted the World Cup in 2013.
“It’s unique each game and you need to make sure you’re adapting. We’ve won differently every time which I think is really important because you need to put yourself in different positions to make sure that when you do get to the semis, you’re prepped and ready to go.
“We’ll enjoy this win, it’s a win against an exceptional team who are very dangerous. You need to make sure to take a moment to take it all in and enjoy wins like this because they’re all very difficult.
“We’ll refocus when we need to, but it is certainly a very happy changing room tonight.”
Lanning missed out on what had seemed a certain century when she was dismissed with Australia needing eight off eight, but despite her personal disappointment she said she had every faith in Tahlia McGrath and Beth Mooney to finish the job.
Lanning added: “We were pretty confident, to be honest. We had Moons there who was set and Tahlia McGrath, she’s very cool under pressure.
“We’d expect to be able to get those runs on a really good batting wicket. It was frustrating for me to get out, I would have loved to be there just to finish off the game and not put that little bit of unnecessary pressure on Tahlia and Moons.
“I think overall that was a pretty clinical chase, I thought [Alyssa] Healy and [Rachael] Haynes set it up nicely at the top there, got us ahead of the rate and that just allowed the new batters to come in to settle themselves in and build partnerships.”
Australia broke their own World Cup record by surpassing the 258 they chased to beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in 2017 with Lanning the hero then too after making a masterful 152 not out.
In Auckland, Australia combined with India to have three hundred partnerships between them in the game, an unprecedented feat at an ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.
Yastika Bhatia and Raj piled on 130 for India’s third wicket helping them finish on 277 for seven, their second-highest total of the tournament, and one Bhatia thought would be enough.
She said: “I think it was a defendable total and credit to the Australian batters for the way they started – Healy and Haynes started very aggressively.
“We would have liked a few wickets in the powerplay and that would have turned the game but they played really well.
“They have been playing super cricket when it matters. Everyone takes responsibility like Meg Lanning today, she took it on herself to take the team over the line, she just couldn’t quite do it but that was her intention.
“The team is quite hard to beat, but still we were quite close today and we could have crossed the line. It could have gone either way.
“It is not like they can’t be beaten. Our team is really good and we can do it for sure in the semi-finals or final.”
India remain in the final qualifying spot with two wins from their five games and will likely need to beat both South Africa and Bangladesh to stand a chance of reaching the knockout stages.