Meg Lanning’s Australia target hat-trick of T20 World Cups in South Africa

Meg Lanning’s Australia target hat-trick of T20 World Cups in South Africa

The five-time ICC Women’s T20 World Cup champions and the current number 1 T20I team in the MRF Bande ICC Women’s Team Rankings will go into the 2023 edition of the tournament as favourites.

Hopes are high, and the excitement is “bubbling under the surface”, Australian captain Meg Lanning admitted in her exclusive column for the ICC.

“This may be my fifth ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, but believe me, the excitement bubbling under the surface in the run-up never goes away,” said Lanning.

Despite her illustrious career so far that has included World Cup victories and memorable moments, this will be Lanning’s and most of her team members’ first time in South Africa.

“For one, it’s the first time most of the team and I have been to South Africa, and while we can’t wait to soak up the culture, we still have work to do. Not that if a shock but there is a title to defend so attractions will have to wait,” said Lanning.

“A new country brings new challenges, especially adapting to the conditions. There is just over a week between our flight and our opening match against New Zealand in Paarl on February 10. But the one thing we the years have proven is that our most valuable weapon is adaptability, both in training and on the field.”

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Since the last T20 World Cup in 2020, which Australia won in front of a packed MCG crowd on International Women’s Day, the Australian team has gone through a period of transition and introduced some exciting talents.

“Our team has gone through a period of change since the last World Cup, but I think it’s positive,” added Lanning. “We are constantly evolving and we have great flexibility in our squad at the moment both with bat and ball.

“There is a real mix of youth with experience and we have players who can play a number of different roles depending on the opposition. T20 cricket is really about role playing and our preparation has been key in exploring different threats as well than to offer the newer members of our team experience at an international level.”

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Lanning is pleased with the performances of some of the new members of her team.

“For new arrivals Kim Garth and Heather Graham, the 4-1 series win in India was the perfect opportunity to integrate themselves ahead of South Africa. We were all aware of their quality but I’m not sure any of us expected didn’t think they would assimilate. as quickly as they did. Heather’s hat trick in the last game was a great example of what she is capable of and as for Kim, I know better than anyone how dangerous she can be. I expect fully that both will continue their good form against Pakistan.

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“But perhaps the one player I’m most excited to see for the first time at a T20 World Cup is Grace Harris. She’s grabbed her second opportunity for Australia with both hands. Her strike rate shows she’s one of the world ‘s greatest hits and she is someone who can do things other people can’t, she is very powerful, hits the ball a long way and especially in this format can take the game away from the opposition in a very short time. The way the game has developed in the last few years, no score is safe, especially when Grace is at her best.

“We fly to South Africa with the task of emulating our record win in Melbourne three years ago. The sight of 86,000 plus fans packed into the MCG to watch us play a near perfect game will never be beaten won’t be. It was an experience. that will stay with me until the day I die. Certainly, a tough act to follow and nothing less than the three-peat will do.”

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