Photo Credit: ICC
- Videos of the captains’ pre-match interviews are available for download at the Online Media Zone (OMZ) here.
In a contest worthy of the final itself, England and Australia will square off in the second semi-final of the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in Potchefstroom on Friday afternoon.
The rivalry between the nations is long and storied at senior level and both England’s Grace Scrivens and Rhys McKenna of Australia are chomping at the bit to play for a chance to be in Sunday’s final.
The pair have relished the added responsibility of leading their countries on such a massive occasion at this stage of their young careers.
“It’s a privilege to captain any team, never mind an Australian side. I have learned a lot, and I think this has been really good for my cricket,” McKenna enthused.
Scrivens said she had embraced the responsibility and noted that the supporters that have travelled to South Africa have given them a massive boost.
“We have had a real Barmy Army here, cheering us on. Hopefully, we can keep making them proud,” she said ahead of their biggest game of the tournament so far.
“There is a good vibe in the camp, and everyone is playing really good cricket at the moment, which is really nice to see,” she said of her side’s form in the tournament so far.
Australia started the tournament with a loss to Bangladesh but have been undefeated since then. McKenna called it the wake-up call they needed.
“That first loss kicked us into gear, and we’ve been playing pretty good cricket since then. I think we are peaking at the right time, and it should be a good match,” she explained.
England have dominated their matches thus far, with several batters in fine form. Scrivens is hopeful that they will continue in a similar vein when it matters most.
“I am extremely proud of the girls because they’ve been amazing all tournament. If they can carry that into the semis, that will put us in a really good space.”
While the stocks are higher than ever now, both teams have not lost sight of the bigger picture. Playing against nations whose cricket pedigrees are still developing such as Rwanda, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States of America (USA), has been eye-opening for the captains, and getting the opportunity to watch them make their own mark in the tournament and talk to them about it after, has given these more established teams memories that they will cherish.
“It has been a real honour playing against them. They have reminded us what cricket is all about, because they are so down to earth,” Scrivens said of heartwarming nations such as Rwanda and Indonesia.
McKenna spent time with UAE captain Theertha Satish, who shared her incredible journey to this point.
“She has only been playing cricket for three years, which is pretty remarkable! There is no way I could have done what she has in that time,” she saluted.
“It has been pretty cool to see other teams, get to know them and hang out with them (at the team hotel),” she said of the close-knit nature of the tournament in South Africa.
Now, of course, England and Australia must focus solely on delivering their best cricket on the field, as they battle for a spot in the first-ever ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup final.
Australia vs England starts at 13h45 (SAST) at JB Marks Oval. Entrance is free of charge.
Please click here for the broadcast details.