Sydney: Australia’s women cricketers are already eyeing the defence of their World Twenty20 crown on home soil after cruising to victory over England, with skipper Meg Lanning saying their focus must now be on consistency.
Their eight-wicket win in Antigua on Saturday was Australia’s fourth world title in the short-format and they are desperate to make it five when the tournament is next played in early 2020 at home.
“The T20 World Cup is in Australia in 2020, which is going to be massive and I think we’ve shown that we can be the world’s best team,” Lanning said Sunday.
“We want to be a very consistent cricket team and I think we have done that over the last few years without the success at world tournaments. So hopefully this win is sort of the start of something.
“We’ve really put together an amazing squad and support staff to be able to move the game forward and be part of the women’s game, which is going to grow so much over the next couple of years,” she added.
The popularity of women’s cricket in Australia has soared in recent years and organisers of the next T20 World Cup are confident more than 90,000 fans will watch the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Eight cities across Australia will host games.
All-rounder Ashleigh Gardner starred with bat and ball in Antigua with the English restricted to 105 all out off 19.4 overs. In reply, Australia reached the target with the loss of just two wickets in the 16th over.
Lanning said the win was particularly sweet after defeat in the 2016 T20 final in Kolkata and last year’s 50-over World Cup semi-final exit.
“The last couple of World Cup exits for us hurt our team a lot. And we spoke about that as a group and not hiding away from that fact,” she said.
“But I think that the biggest thing has been that we’ve been able to learn and really grow as a group.
“Our culture is fantastic and we’re just really enjoying what we do, and I think we showed that out there (in Antigua).”