Meg Lanning says there will be no extra pressure on Australia in their must-win encounter with New Zealand despite the risk of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup elimination.
The hosts have won the tournament four times and reached at least the semi-final stage on the other two occasions - a record that put them as heavy favourites to lift the trophy on home soil.
Losing to India thwarted their hopes of an unbeaten run and they now have to beat the White Ferns on Monday to progress.
But captain Lanning says it’s not just her side who will have to sweat over the outcome.
“They can say we’re under more pressure if they want to, but I don’t think that’s the case,” said Lanning.
“New Zealand want to win just as much as we do and they are under exactly the same pressure we are.
“Every team is under the pump and we all have a lot to lose if we don’t get the result we want.
“We know we’re going to have to play extremely well and put out our best performance of the tournament so far, but I back my team to do that.
“When we’ve been in these situations in the past, we’ve really come to the fore and played well. I think it brings the best out in this group.
"There’s a lot of coverage and interest and people wanting us to do well. That’s what we’ve always asked for, I guess.
“It’s just cricket, we’ve played a lot of it and it’s something we know really well. That’s our message.”
— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) March 1, 2020
Meanwhile, Lanning’s opposite number Sophie Devine couldn’t have made it clearer that she’s not feeling the pressure at all.
New Zealand, who failed to progress beyond the group stage at the 2018 tournament, are just one win away from making amends for their shortcomings but will need to improve recent form to defeat the defending champions.
The White Ferns survived a scare on Saturday when they were bowled out for 91 by Bangladesh but Devine says the determination to come back from the brink holds them in good stead to rain on the hosts’ parade.
“‘Excited’ is the word that best describes us at the moment,” said Devine.
“Everyone is really united after the performance against Bangladesh. We were put on the ropes a little bit so to fight back and I think it showed a lot of spirit from the girls.
“We certainly want to touch on what happened, we can’t ignore it, but we’re certainly really excited to come up against an Australian side who we’ve played a lot of cricket not only against, but alongside as well.
“I think it’s great not to have a huge amount of time to dwell on things. What will be will be.
“We’ve done all the preparation and hard work now it’s about getting out there and enjoying ourselves.”
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