Photo Credit: ICC
Captain, Meg Lanning, is under no illusions of what it will require to lift the trophy again as Australia begin the defense of their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup title.
Lanning’s side take on New Zealand in their opener in Paarl tomorrow evening and the top-order batter is raring to go as she continues her return from a mental health break.
The 30-year-old has skippered her side to three World Cup titles but will face a new test as this Australia squad play in South Africa for the first time.
“I’m super excited to be here,” Lanning said.
“World Cups are always very special to be a part of, there’s a very different energy and a really great energy around these sorts of tournaments.
“We come into this World Cup on level pegging with everybody else and we’re coming here to win and we know how difficult that is.
“I’m just excited about the challenge that brings, as is the team. We are also really pumped to be playing here in South Africa for the first time, which is something new.”
As well as Lanning’s return, Australia will also be able to call on Alyssa Healy who has recovered from a calf injury picked up in their tour to India.
Lanning has confirmed that Healy will slot back into the side to give head coach Shelley Nitschke another selection headache.
She added: “Obviously, Midge [Healy] comes back in so someone, unfortunately, has to miss out from the team that played in the Pakistan series.
“It’s a very difficult decision, but at the same time, it’s really nice to have Midge back. She looks like she’s really strong and fit and is ready to come into this tournament to play well.”
Healy’s last act in the T20 World Cup was to hit 75 in the final against India to secure Australia’s fifth trophy, but New Zealand captain, Sophie Devine, insists her White Ferns side are ready to take her on.
She said: “We know the threat that Midge brings and she will have been waiting in the wings for a while.
“I think her record speaks for itself in World Cups in particular. We know that she’s fit and available and that she will probably be fronting up at the top of the order.
“And for us, it’s about how we keep her quiet and even better try and get her out early.”
Devine is also raring to go having recovered from an injury of her own, with the all-rounder looking to guide New Zealand to their first T20 title.
“It’s certainly something that we’re still managing,” Devine said. “I feel like come tomorrow I’m going to be 100%.
“I know, and particularly the support staff know, that I’m not going to be able to hold back and I don’t want to either.”