Serial winners Australia are taking nothing for granted ahead of their ICC Womens T20 World Cup 2023 showdown with first-time finalists South Africa as captain Meg Lanning feels there will be pressure on everyone since it's a summit clash.
Australia have reigned supreme in five of the seven ICC Women's T20 World Cups but have never previously faced the hosts in the showpiece. 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's a World Cup final. South Africa are 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're certainly prepared for that, " said Lanning in the pre-match press conference. Their semi-final against England had an incredible atmosphere and the crowd was certainly cheering for the home team, as you'd expect here, so we are prepared for that.
"We know we're probably not going to be the team that everyone is cheering for but that's fine, you know it's going to be an incredible atmosphere and an incredible game at an amazing venue," the Australian skipper said.
"We're pumped, we can't wait to get out there and play and no doubt it's going to be a great contest," she 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 hopes 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," she said.
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's 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's how we're going to win the game, " Lanning said.
Having announced that 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'm staying super relaxed, enjoying the opportunity, and really embracing everything that comes with it," Lanning concluded.