Australia skipper Meg Lanning believes her side will not go into the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final against India with a psychological edge, saying past results don’t matter against a strong team. Australia will take on India for a place in the World Cup final, after defeating Harmanpreet Kaur’s side 4-1 in the five-match T20I series last December and also the 2022 Commonwealth Games final in Birmingham, besides triumphing in the 2020 T20 World Cup final at MCG.
“I don’t think so (Australia will have a psychological advantage),” said Lanning on the eve of the semi-final here.
“Both teams start at the same level tomorrow when we come out and play. What’s happened in the past doesn’t make a difference. We need to come out and play our best cricket and play the way that we want to.
“And in India, we look to do the same. So, as I said, it’s going to be an incredible game, two world-class teams going at it. And it’s about putting out your best performance on the day,” added Lanning.
The captain also said beating India in the five-match series last December in Mumbai doesn’t make Australia firm favourites, given that the opponents are an “incredible side” and are not relying on just a couple of players to win them games.
“I’m not sure (Australia are favourites), to be honest. We obviously both know each other very well. They’re (India) an incredible side. They’ve got some match winners and world-class players and it’s going to be a cracking game.
“Obviously, we came here to be part of a game like this and we’re expecting to have to play at our best to win. And that’s something that I know this group is up for and we’re certainly very much looking forward to it.” She also added that India now have a strong group which bats deep and is able to deliver in big-ticket events.
“I think that they’ve shown that they’re not relying on one or two players. They’ve got some great depth as well. So, for us as a team, we’ve had to prepare for all their players to do well.
“And I think when you get to that point as a squad, you know you’re going to be in most games because T20 cricket, some things work out, some things don’t. And sometimes it’s not going to be your day.
“But as long as someone steps up, then that’s the most important thing. And that’s what they’ve shown to be able to do.
“They’ve really created that real strong group of players who have played a lot of cricket together now. And they’re able to deliver. So, we know they’re strong. And that sort of just makes the challenge even greater and something we look forward to.” Lanning expressed confidence in her side, with all 15 members in the squad fully fit and available for selection against India.
“We’ve got a full squad. Alissa Healy is fit and available, which is great for us. She’s had a great tournament so far and, is going to play an important role. So that’s nice, but it does make it pretty difficult to get it down to 11.” She added that Australia will have to guard against India’s spin bowling, which, while being strong, has a lot of variety as well.
“They (India) obviously bowl a lot of spin with the ball. And they’ve got some good variety within their attack as well. So that just sort of keeps you on your game as a batter, making sure you’re adapting really quickly.
“And I just think that they’re overall match winners. You know, they’ve got players who can take the game away from you very quickly in the space of a number of overs. So we’re very aware of that and we’ll look to try and counter that as much as we can.” Lannings said, the plan would be to get rid of top-order batters Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma to put India under pressure.
“Yeah, that’s absolutely a focus for us. I think any T20 game that you play, if you can get some early wickets, that puts pressure on the opposition. So, we’ll certainly have some plans in place to try and do that.
“Smriti and Verma are obviously key players for them who we’ve spoken about a little bit, but can take the game away from you very quickly.
“So yeah, we have planned and we’ll certainly be trying to take early wickets because we know in T20 cricket that can make a massive difference.”
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