ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
Aussie World Cup campaign is (finally) underway
Following months, even years, of build-up, the reigning world champions' bid to go back-to-back has officially begun
Laura Jolly in Brisbane
14 February 2020, 02:38 PM AEST
Finally, after months – even years – of build-up, Australia can finally say their World Cup campaign is officially underway.
Meg Lanning’s squad touched down in Brisbane on Thursday afternoon, fresh off their victory in the T20I tri-series final the previous day, ahead of what was due to their first warm-up game against West Indies.
🚨 Hello Brisbane! T20 World Cup mode 🔛 pic.twitter.com/OJMOvQV4ei— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) February 13, 2020
However, the torrential rain that has lashed Brisbane over the last week – more than 350mm – meant Australia trained indoors at the Bupa National Cricket Centre on Friday morning, despite the sun finally breaking though.
It then caused the cancellation of Saturday's match at Allan Border Field, a venue that has drained poorly in the past, despite the best efforts of ground staff.
Nonetheless, the World Cup has arrived - even if Australia must now wait until Tuesday for their second warm-up game against South Africa in Adelaide.
If the reality that the World Cup had finally arrived had yet to sink in for any of the Australians on Friday morning, their hectic day one schedule of training, meetings, information sessions and media duties would quickly have fixed that.
The squad got an early taste of the heightened interest and attention that accompanies a home World Cup when they touched down at Brisbane Airport on Thursday to be greeted by a waiting bank of television cameras.
"The lead up and the tri-series has been unreal, but as soon as we stepped off the plane, it felt like everything ramped up a bit," fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck told reporters.
"To play in a World Cup, full stop, is pretty amazing and I was lucky enough to do that for the first time in the West Indies.
"That was an unreal experience, but to do it in front of my family and friends… I’m just counting down the days to the first game."
That fanfare will only increase when the tournament begins in Sydney next Friday, with the spotlight to follow Australia from there to Perth, Canberra and Melbourne across a busy group stage that sees the defending champions play four matches in 11 days.
For Australia assistant coach Shelley Nitschke, the scale of this tournament is incomparable to the one-day World Cup she played in on home soil in 2009.
"It’s been unbelievable, where (the women’s game) is now compared to 10 years ago, that sort of growth you wouldn’t expect to happen in that space of time," Nitschke said.
"I don’t remember being in front of this many cameras at any point (in 2009) and that just goes with the growth of the game, it’s the media coverage and interest in the players.
"There are some comparisons but it’s certainly increased ten-fold since then."
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
February 18: Australia v South Africa, Karen Rolton Oval
February 21: Australia v India, Sydney Showgrounds
February 24: Australia v Sri Lanka, WACA Ground
February 27: Australia v Bangladesh, Manuka Oval
March 8: Final, MCG
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* All matches will be broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo, while Australia's matches will also be broadcast on the Nine Network