World dominance is driving Australia’s push for a sixth T20 world title as they prepare to face first-time finalists South Africa in the decider in Cape Town on Sunday.
That is the view of Australian all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner, player of the match after their five-run victory over India in the semi-final on Thursday.
“When you come to a World Cup, of course you want to be World Cup champion,” said Gardner after her game-winning 18-ball 31 and 2-37.
So we want to be world champions. We want to win everything. I think every team wants to do that, but we certainly don’t want to leave here without a medal.
“I hate losing. I think everyone hates losing. So I feel like that’s probably one of the things people always think about.
“But it’s just that as a team we can always say that we want to keep evolving. And ultimately, as we evolve as athletes and as individuals, we will get better.”
Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner delivers a ball during the semi-final T20 Women’s World Cup cricket match between Australia and India
Australia’s Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning and Ashleigh Gardner celebrate reaching the World Cup final
South Africa’s fast bowler Shabnim Ismail said the hosts will use their familiarity with the Australians at the WBBL to get upset.
“We know exactly what to expect against the Australian team, who are a world class team,” Ismail said on Friday after South Africa, who have not lost a game since losing to Sri Lanka in their tournament opener, beat England by six. runs in the second semi-final at Newlands.
The 34-year-old, who along with many of her South African teammates is a regular in the Australian national T20 competition, added: “They have a batting line-up of one to actually maybe eight-nine, and we’re talking about clearly crawl into the tail.’
South Africa’s Shabnim Ismail celebrates taking Sophia Dunkley’s wicket during their victory over England
Australia have never lost to South Africa in a World Cup in eight games in the ODI format and six in the T20I equivalent.
In the group stage of the ongoing eighth edition of the 20-over showpiece, Tahlia McGrath’s 33-ball 57 trumped Tazmin Brits’ 36-ball 45 to set up Australia’s six-wicket win at Gqeberha.
Ismail believes turning up the pressure against a ‘calm’ Australia will be key to South Africa’s chances of winning the first ever men’s and women’s World Cup.
“Honestly, I don’t think Australia has been under tremendous pressure this whole World Cup and other World Cups as well,” Ismail said.
So, just for us to go out and put pressure on the first five-six hitters. And we know that at the back we can defend anything.
“We know we have a strong bowling unit and only for the batters who come out and play brave cricket, that’s what will get us over the line.”
Ellyse Perry celebrates with Tahlia McGrath after taking a flyout to send Radha Yadav out of India
The same surface on which the full 80 overs of the two semi-finals were bowled will be used for the final.
The two knockouts produced 661 runs for the loss of 24 wickets, with 14 going to pacers and eight to spinners.
In both games, the chasing teams India and England lost the toss and eventually lost.
The pitch was considered ‘good’ by most of the four semi-finalists and described as ‘flat’ by South African speedy Marizanne Kapp.
Gardner said they hoped to score 170-180.
“I think that is certainly defensible, especially in a World Cup final.
“Obviously it’s high pressure, but yes… if you bowl well enough, you can certainly defend that.”
No rain is forecast for Sunday, but in the unlikely event of a washout, reserve day is just around the corner.